In pictures: Nigerian city celebrates its abundance of twins with annual festival

Nigerian city Igbo-Ora celebrates its many twins with annual festival
Nigerian city Igbo-Ora celebrates its many twins with annual festival   -   Copyright  Sunday Alamba/AP
By Theo Farrant  & AP

In Nigeria's southwestern city of Igbo-Ora, there is an unusually abundant number of twins - so much so that it is the west African nation's self-proclaimed "twin capital". 

"Nearly every family here has twins or other multiple births," says local chief Jimoh Titiloye.

For the past 12 years, the community has organised an annual 'Twin Festival', where twins from Igbo-Ora and elsewhere gather to celebrate their existence.

This year's event, held earlier this month, included more than 1,000 pairs of twins and drew participants from as far away as France, organisers said.

Why are there so many twins in Igbo-Ora?

Sunday Alamba/AP
Twins Oladapo Taiwo, left, and Oladapo Kehinde, 21, pose for photographs holding relative's twins during the annual twins festivalSunday Alamba/AP

There is no proven scientific explanation for the high rate of twins in Igbo-Ora, a city of at least 200,000 people 135 kilometers (83 miles) south of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos.

However, many in Igbo-Ora believe it can be traced to women's diets.

Alake Olawunmi, a mother of twins, attributes it to a local delicacy called amala which is made from yam flour.

John Ofem, a gynecologist based in the capital, Abuja, says it very well could be “that there are things they eat there that have a high level of certain hormones that now result in what we call multiple ovulation.”

While that could explain the higher-than-normal rate of fraternal twins in Igbo-Ora, the city also has a significant number of identical twins. Those result instead from a single fertilised egg that divides into two - not because of hyper-ovulation.

Feast your eyes on snaps of this year's Twin Festival:

Sunday Alamba/AP
Twins Taiwo Lateef, left, and Kehinde Lateef, 13, from Igbo-Ora town and students of Igbo-Ora grammar secondary schoolSunday Alamba/AP
Sunday Alamba/AP
Twins Kehinde Oyediran, left, and Taiwo Oyediran, 52, cassava farmers from Igbo-ora attend the annual twins festivalSunday Alamba/AP
Sunday Alamba/AP
Twins Kehinde Dahunsi, left, and Taiwo Dahunsi, 65, attend the annual twins festivalSunday Alamba/AP
AP Photo
Twins wait to perform during the annual twins festivalAP Photo
AP Photo
Twins Obasekore Damilade, left, Obasekore Damitola, 28AP Photo
AP Photo
Twins Taiwo Ojeniyi, left, and Kehinde Ojeniyi, 27, attends the annual twins festival in Igbo-OraAP Photo