Nigerian Men and their Secret Sons

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

What is it about Nigerian men and their unknown sons? Or better put, the sons they have outside marriage. I have heard numerous stories and my ears are full: left and right, sons of Nigerian men at home and abroad just pop off the screen. Most times, this revelation does not take place until after the dramatis persona has passed on to the world beyond; other times it is a family crisis that conjures up this sons from far distances, beyond the Atlantic ocean it seems and some others just in the next street where the family home is built. Some of these sons (children) are product of indiscretion, others of love relationship gone sour or love children that were born while the actual married life was carried out in utter secrecy. Large percentages are born in foreign land to foreign mothers, “paper plus some” marriages and others to gold digging old girlfriend in the city or village who would have nothing of the marriage their old lovers are into after his return from abroad and did everything to have his baby anyway: yes it happens.

My friends and I had a conversation along this line recently. There were five of us on the table in a restaurant; four of us have had very close experiences to these very similar stories. In all these cases, they seem to always be boys: sons born to foreign mothers, or to old girlfriends done well. It is not as if these men don’t have daughters outside wedlock too, but the stories that always get to me just happen to always seem to be about their sons. The fifth was unsure, he was unsure if he has a brother somewhere in the dark parts of our planet or if his brother had one- may be even if he had one across the Atlantic by his long lost girlfriend he hooked up with on his visit back home during Christmas time. How can you blame him? This seems to be the way of Nigerian men especially the older folks above forty. Father came visiting to the states recently and recounted the tale of a friend who just passed away of cancer. His friend died and today his immediate family is suffering. They are suffering because of his indiscretion. The company he worked for have refused to pay up his gratuity simply because a son just came from the blues with a mother carrying a marriage certificate essentially putting his legitimate family and entitlement in limbo. Such has been the horror stories.

The newspapers are always filled with these stories when big men pass away. The other day it was the wives of the telecom entrepreneur allegedly murdered by the police and creditors. His estate is a matter of contention until date. The other day it was the INEC chief and pastor who died; the fight over his property by his disparate children led head on by wives that hardly knew of each others existence led EFCC to uncover a filthy estate brimming with wealth acquired by bilking the people of Nigeria. You just need to go to the cities and even the Village to view decayed properties long under the litigation of warring factions of the same family: some of them known others largely unknown and only surfacing when t he man at the center of the drama was about to be committed to mother earth.

This story has become all but common; of course bulk of these children was born when our fathers were on foreign studies. Some of them left fiancées at home; others even married and sired kids but could not hold out on the cold of the distant land. They sired kids away from the preying eyes of their fiancées, wives, and girlfriends. Some of them returned home after the long sojourn without bringing back the news of their escapades. Others let their brothers and sisters know while sinisterly keeping it away from their spouses. This spurns a deadly retribution especially if the wife is not that much liked anyway or worse still could not have a son until the man’s death. You can expect the son of Mr. Man born to African American or Caribbean or even some Nigerian woman overseas would be held out as the ace by the man’s family against the “witch” that killed their son when the die is cast.

The latest trend of course in the national newspapers especially in the weekend are the stories of half caste kids; lost in distant lands and born of Nigerian fathers. Seeking a reconnection back to the world they know nothing about. In some cases, these men have kept them an absolute secret. Some are unwittingly fugitive from child support laws; others simply left Britain or USA in angst of the white woman that will not have anything with going back home with them. They surrender themselves to the inevitable, and hold out the secret long enough to go into the grave with them. The kids seeking a reconnection are sometimes fortunate to meet the man that forsook them, whose only contribution was the Y chromosome that made them men: it always stunned me how forgiving these children turn out to be when they are interviewed. Some of them never seem to mind they never had these men in their lives yet to they use precious dollars and pounds sterling to conduct a search for a fugitive father. What a pity!

Of course the victims in these cases are always twin: the woman and family these men have created back home in Nigeria or abroad (if they are the few ones that were stuck) as well as the children whom they left uncared for without a father in their life. How does it feel meeting a father that has never been there for you? How does it feel knowing that you have a brother or sister you have never met? How does it feel realizing that after decades of marriage you do not know everything about a man you call husband? I doubt I can tell you.

But we can hardly place the blame solely at the feet of these men; to the extent we can’t acquit them of dishonesty, each of them have a different story. But the common thread of course is a battle of one journey man, a victim of his conspiracy and fear, desperate to appear Mr. Clean to the woman that have trusted him with so much but ready to the brave the disappointment of a family left with the pants hanging dry when he passes on to the world beyond. Such is the story of naija men and their first sons. Let it be known to the young women seeking Mr. Right out there: buyers beware (caveat emptor); the man with good education, good job, and perfect look might just have been one of these men. You do not know them until you marry one – everything that glitter is not gold.

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11 comments August 6, 2009 - 4:14 am

I just spent a whole year dealing with a Nigerian man, he took me out on four dates. There were many red flags but no way to prove them. By the fourth date and mind you this only equaled about 10hrs total of me hanging out with him..he was talking about wanting to marry me, i was beautiful, and oh yea wanted me to sleep w/ him as well but that he would ‘control’ himself (because he knew it’s not right to have sex outside of marriage or so he said he believed as well.) first of all if your a true follower of Christ, what they call a Christian, you wouldn’t even put yourself in a situation like that too be tempted! I didn’t see him for many months after that cuz he lived an hr away, i was busy w. school and told him i just had to THINK and that meant staying away from him because he was so attractive and ‘seemed’ like mr. perfect to me ….yet there was many red flags and strange things he would say or do that just made me question how much i could trust him. Anyways turns out a yr later, mind you I haven’t seen him in almost a yr, we meet up to get a book back of mine and he wants to go out w/ me flat out he asked me, idc what country or culture your from, i haven’t seen him or hardly spoke w/ him for a yr and he wants to start dating that day not to mention he tried to kiss me after clearly letting him know i was pissed at him for disrespecting me on several occasions (basically he didn’t even have the respect to be friends and get to know eachother he kept wanting to ‘hold me’ and love on me AFTER i told him 1000 times no-we are just friends -BIG RED FLAG, but of course he had to be so good looking i relentlessly just remained confused w. emotions even tho i knew i deserved better.) He came off a verrry Godly man too mostly in the beginning…always quoting scriptures and yes he may have ‘loved God’ but i bet you about ever cheater, rapist, liar and theft loves God too but that doesn’t mean they are TRULY a good christian, that is what kept me going on the dates BUT DO NOT LET THAT DECEIVE YOU , it turns out he had another girlfriend in the same state and keep making up stories to hide it, and he did this VERY WELL. im a VERY STRONG Christian and independent, im the least gullible person ik and he was this close to getting me to just stop worring about things and to TRUST him. he also asked for several small favors including money. well hell no i didn’t do any favors for him (yes at this pt ik i don’t want ANY kind of relationship w. him, i was just praying for him until i got a book back he had of mine!) p.s. iF they emphasize trust alot especially on every date…then thats a reason not to trust him. yes thats a good value to have in a relationship but why was he so worried about me trusting him in the beginning?? cuz thats all it would of taken from me for him to do his magic.

Ruth February 26, 2009 - 8:02 pm

I too am in a similar situation and I feel for all the women who recount their stories on this website. Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention with this article.

Mya January 14, 2009 - 5:49 am

I had the same situation, I’m a blk American women, nurse, was dating a Nigerian man. I loved him and cared for him dearly. During the relationship, I always felt he had skeletons in the closet, but could not prove it. Every time I visited his home and a phone call came through, he would always tell me ssshhhh. He went on Christmas vacation back to Nigeria for a month; I never received one phone call (I should have known better, but love and ignorance blinded me). After a year of dating, and him graduating from college and moving to another city, and not getting along, I became pregnant. Once I became pregnant, I hardly heard from him. I even told him, If he didn’t want to be together I was totally fine with that but let us just get along for the child. I gave birth to my daughter who was four months early weighted 1.8lbs, on a ventilator, receiving all kinds of medical treatments, they told me she might not make it, and if so, she would have numerous medical problems. I called him numerous times, he never called me back. Never visited her once in the hospital. When he did come into town, he spent time with his friends and his four-year-old son and called me and told me he was on his way back out of town. Can you only imagine the pain and agony that ran through my soul? It was like he was thrusting a dagger right into the apex of my Heart. I never new a person could treat another person in such a way. I wouldn’t even treat my own enemies in this way. Now I’m a single mother raising a beautiful healthy daughter who is the world to me, and all I think about is what I will tell her when she looks at those photos of her in the hospital, and ask the questions where was my daddy, does he love me, why isn’t he in my life etc etc.

He calls now and sends support for her, but it absolutely means nothing to me. What can a parent do when you live over a thousand miles away? Nothing.

In my family, about three years ago we just found out my Grandfather had another daughter (from a women he was cheating with while married to my grandmother) that he had kept a secret for years. We were devastated when we found out. I don’t want this to happen to my child.

nicole nganga October 22, 2008 - 10:21 am

you know whats? I had the same expoerience and i tell you he will come back at some point and tell you all the crap. It seems to be in their nature. Only there women can handle them, its painful and it hurts. Be strong and put your child first. Love your son, remeber that i dday that child will grow up and one day the father will be old and cry out to him, but it will be too late.

stephanie June 21, 2008 - 9:40 pm

tricky one darling you want and deserve the best for your son but you odviously have a heart and see the feelings of another women.

elaine June 14, 2008 - 1:03 am

i dated a nigerian for about 2 years before or daughter was born prior to that even happening we talked about marriage and have mutiple kids of our own the day i found out i was pregnant he told me that we could not have a future together and that his mother would never except the fact he had a child out of wedlock. he was married to an american women for 11 years and they also had a son, 10 months after my daughter was born he told me his mom had arranged a wedding for him since then they have had a son together and now the wife, son, and mother have been in the states every since. I think he always knew he was getting married even before he met me and didnt bother to say anything, his first son did meet my daughter when she was 3 weeks old now she is three and he hasnt seen her since. He just recently told me he told his mom and family about my daughter but my question to him was why his mom has never asked to see her since she has been in the states kindof odd to me, now it has come to a point where he wants to control what i do and we are having major issues because that is not going to happen right now i attend shool full time and he does support but let him know that support doesnt mean control and i just dont want things to start getting out of hand not until i finish school anyway. what do u have to say about this unfortunate but true story.

nikki May 15, 2008 - 4:01 pm


i recently started going out with a nigerian man for the past 4 mnths seems quiet nice but somewhat controlling and jealous, but i don’t trust him cos everyone keep saying things that they are liars,cheats and women beaters, and that he might have a wife some where else but he told me that he has been divorce for a couple of years now, and he wants to marry me, what do you think should i trust him? he is the first nigerian man i ever got with.

ann February 28, 2008 - 8:08 pm


Hi I just have one question. Why is it that SOME Nigerian women have such a difficult time seeing a successful Nigerian man with a Jamaican? Or why is it that SOME Nigerian parents feel that marrying a Jamaican woman is the ultimate sin? What happened in the past for Jamaicans to receive such a bad name? I expect that stereotypes about ganja smoking, uneducated, hippies would not exist today just like the stereotypes that Nigerians are theives, frauds, manipulators are also untrue. I have met so many Nigerian men who were told they would be abandoned should they marry a Jamaican and some of them have. I am currently in a relationship with a sweet and caring Nigerian man whose parents just don’t care to see us together. His mother told me point blank that I am a nice and beautiful girl but I can be that for someone else in the Caribbean community. I didn’t say anything other than I am sorry you feel that way. This of course now has my boyfriend of 3 years (now fiancee) not speaking with his parents which is horrible! I don’t want to get married like this I know about having to send money back home to help out distant relatives, i know how important education is, i know how important respect and honour is, i know that marriage isn’t only about 2 people but its about the family as well. I plan on going to Nigerian this year as well as Ghana as I have always wanted to know about African history as it pertains to my own roots. I feel like I am putting in some effort so what is the problem? Is this simply prejudice? How is this still happening when most Nigerians are Christians this is not condoned in the word of God.

Thanks for letting me vent

Claudia January 2, 2008 - 11:41 pm

Well written. i was one of those unwitting "white women", a nurse, who fell for a Nigerian nurse who told me he was divorced, wanted my baby, loved me etc etc. Not knowing of his deception, when the baby arrived, he dumped me when I would not divorce. I am raising a mixed kid, a boy who only asks me why his daddy did not want him. The dad lives in Toronto, has three sons. What do I do? Go to his wife and make her feel bad because her husband is cheating on her? I am hurt. Does another woman get hurt as well? And my son? Any advice other than grin and bear it and stay away from men who claim they love me? Claudia

Anonymous April 6, 2007 - 10:53 pm

The daughters are there if you haven't heard and have equally exacting consequences and equally forgiving hearts. But what would you advise a young man who happens to fall in love with a girl of this kind of beginning?

Jocelyn November 22, 2006 - 2:10 pm

Well written


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