Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s head of state from 1966 to 1975, Wednesday admitted he is the father of Musa Gowon, 48, after a conclusive DNA test.

Musa’s mother, Edith Ike Okongwu, was a public relations manager at Guinness Nigeria Plc. She died in 2003. Gowon and Ms Okongwu were friends in the 1960s until the civil war. Gowon later married Victoria Zakari, a nurse, on April 19, 1969. Okongwu took Gowon to court following his denial of Musa and won. After the Supreme Court’s ruling, Musa got arrested and jailed in the United States for drug peddling. He was released recently, after 23 years in jail.

In a statement issued yesterday, Gen. Gowon, who will clock 82 in October, acknowledged Musa as his son. He said: “Following years of doubts and speculation, a DNA test was recently conducted to ascertain the paternity of Musa Gowon, who recently returned to the country.” The results of the tests were conclusive, and they confirm his paternity. We, the family, are working to assist in his rehabilitation following a very difficult period in his life. ”As we look forward to the future with faith in God, we request that our privacy be respected.”

Paternity dispute is now common in Nigeria and elsewhere. It is easily settled by a DNA test.
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