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Presenter:Asortse Sefa PS/DCA/082007/033


Introduction Facts&details Conclusion Reference


The Tiv ethnic group are spread and settled in the Benue valley of Benue state of Nigeria, bordering the state boundaries with Taraba and Plateau in the North, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom in the East, Enugu and Kogi in the South, Nassarawa in the West and with Cameroon internationally.

ORIGIN History and oral traditions had it that the Tiv people originated from the Congo in central Africa Republic and migrated through the Sahara desert to settle at the present Benue valley in the middle belt. In fact travelers have said that the language being spoken in Congo has the same sound intonation as that of Tiv dialect. The difference is that the Tiv dialect spoken now is being diluted, because after the death of our fore fathers the younger people lost their original dialect. The Tiv being spoken in Benue is a modification of the Congo language.

BELIEFS Before the 19th century, the Tiv people were idol worshippers. They held strong beliefs to various ancestral gods like god of Swem, the sun, moon, sky and rain. Swem was the highest among these gods. The headquarters of this idolatry and witchcraft worship was at Ugbe, the entrance into the Benue valley where the Tiv people first settled on arrival from the Congo . Till today, it still remains the headquarters of every form of idolatry and witchcraft worship in Tiv land, where all kinds of idols and types are found.. They had great respect for Ugbe by taking oath of office like it is been done today in case of the Koran and the Bible.

TRADITION Tiv people are known to be polygamous in their marriage life and sexually very active because of the starchy food eaten in the area (yam) which is the main food stuff. Based on that reason they married many wives so that whenever one is sick, breastfeeding, traveled etc, they would not be starved.

The Tiv people also believed in early marriages. This was a way of allowing the family name to be procreated. Another reason was not to allow the child to be corrupted immorally. As a result of these early marriages among the Tiv people culturally, elopement which was a form of forceful marriages between boys and girls and between families became acceptable as against legal law.

The Tiv people are farmers. Therefore, having many wives means many children which mean many hands that make the work lighter on the farm. This means that the more farm produce, the more income earnings and money for the father. They also believed that, the larger the number of children you have, the more popular will your name become.

When a person dies at a very old age it is celebrated as Gods gift,but when young people die it is great mourning and blame on the oldest person in the family

As a social way of life, the Tiv people are always organizing dancing competitions among themselves and between one village and the other. Tiv people are known to be the best dancers in all the tribal groups of the nation using their native cloth, black and white attire (Anger).

The Tiv people also believed in title taking as a well of gaining popularity and fame. There are two types of titles taken in Tiv land, structured and unstructured. All those who have titles have more than one wife. These wives are responsible for cooking food; because at any time you visit a Tiv man there is always food for you.

TOR-TIV- The word TOR means Chief. The Tor-Tiv is the chief of Tiv and represents the head of all the Tiv traditional council in Benue state. He oversees the affairs of the entire Tiv people traditionally and culturally.

Apart from these structured titles, we also have titles that are given to prominent Tiv sons and daughters as recognition of their presence in the Tiv land and their contributions to the development of the area. The word chief is added to their names. are as follows: MURE U TIV. Shadow - Meaning he is the umbrella of the Tiv people where by no sun shine or rain will disturb the Tiv They people.

In my village and most parts of tiv land, the houses are built from mud and rooft with tach. even in the towns one builds a morden house but still has a round hot normally called (ate),ate is a small hot built just for relaxation,coz it is cool.

Food Tiv peoples major food is pounded yam and egusi with bushmeat(rat),they also like roasted yam with palm oil.

Tiv culture has over the years evolved from the uncivilised orientation to the civilized and present development.I am proud of my heritage and fatherland.

Kwase u dedoo. Author Joseph Har, 2007 History u Tiv unpublished article by Peter U Agule 2003 Traditional beliefs by Tiv People un published B.A Thesis by Rev J E Uwuese 1995 Oral interview by Terson Ikyo September 2007