Survey of the TIV ethnic group in Nigeria(Part 2 State of leadership, Religion and medicine, and ways of improvements)

The second part of our community guide on the TIV ethnic group would promptly explain the state of leadership obtainable within the set-up of this group, the religions they adopted and medicines and also how improvements can be brought in within their ranks.

The TIV ethnic group leadership set-up.

There has been no distinct system of rule the Tiv ethnic group are practicing, partially due to the diversified settlement pattern they are noticeably associated with. There were no no administrative divisions and no chiefs nor councils. Leadership was based on age, influence and affluence. Their leaders’ functions (most of which are mainly ceremonial) were to furnish safe conduct, arbitrate disputes within their lineages and clans, sit on moots and lead their people in all external and internal affairs.

The Word Of God
The heart of men is full of evil and entitled to destruction, except for those whose heart is for God. Check your ways now.

During the early colonial periods, this caused a big problem for the British masters whose attempts to subjugate the Tiv population and establish administration on the lower Benue yielded little result and was even a total frustration.

The strategy of indirect rule, which the British felt to be highly successful in controlling the Hausa and Fulani populations in Northern Nigeria, was ineffective in a segmentary society like the the one the Tiv practice. Colonial officers tried various approaches to administration, such as putting the Tiv under the control of the nearby Jukun, and trying to exert control through the councils of elders (“Jir Tamen”). All these, however, met with little success. The British administration in 1934 therefore only divided the Tiv into clans, kindreds, and family groups. The British appointed native heads of these divisions as well. These administrative divisions are gradually assuming a reality which they never had originally.

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Also, before the introduction of printed material, radio, film and television, mass communication in Nigeria, the Tiv native heads used an indigenous system of communication to pass across information to their subjects and the whole people in general. The rulers and the chiefs governed their ethnic communities and communicated with them through various channels.

Religion and medicine

Some Tiv indigenes have converted to Christianity, and a lesser number have adopted Islam, but their own traditional religion is based on the manipulation of forces, (akombo ) entrusted to humans by a creator god it remains strong and is a very potent religion. The akombo are manifested in certain symbols or emblems and in diseases and hazards that they create. As it is told, an organization of elders who have the ability to manipulate these forces meets at night to repair those manifestations of akombo (e.g., epidemics) that affect their enemies or rivalling communities. It must be noted that these phenomena require human sacrifice or its metaphorical equivalent to be possible.

As explained, the Tiv recognize an otiose god called Aondo (Sky) who according to them created the universe, but they do not postulate that he has any current interest in them. They acknowledge ancestral spirits and, sometimes, make offerings to them, but do not pray to them or regard them as either good or evil. Evil is to be found in the hearts of human beingsā€”it is called tsav. Tsav, set in motion by evil men using forces that the Tiv otherwise refer to as akombo, i.e misfortune. Each akombo is a disease or symptom, as well as being a set of special symbols. The ritual task is, by sacrifice and medicines, to keep the akombo repaired.

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They also utilize diviners. Most Tiv religion custodians also come to be masters of at least some akombo, a few of many akombo. A man who has mastered an akombo carries out rites when that akombo is implicated in a curing

Also, herbal medicines are known to most Tiv elders, particularly the masters of specific akombo who specialize in the medicines associated with that akombo. Only after the akombo ceremony is carried out can any of their medicine be effective.


Improved mechanized agriculture should be introduced for the Tiv community. With most of their indigenes been rural dwellers, they depend on agricultural cultivation and production for commerce and livelihood. The government could do well by providing better means of agriculture for them. Some of their crops which they produce include yams, cocoyams, millet, and sorghum, beans and vegetables.

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They equally specialize in poultry keeping and goat breeding. As a result, their is a substantial provision of eggs and meat for them. Poultry and livestock feeds should be made available to these ones who are endeared to agricultural production in other to ease their activities.

Educational reforms

The government should try as much as possible to provide educational facilities and make it available to these ones so as to make it possible for upcoming ones from this ethnic group to be able to take in qualitative learning. This would bring about solid progress and development for this group as well as inspire them unto greater things. High institutions of study, business schools, elementary schools as well as secondary ones should be provided. Libraries, research institutes etc can also go a long way in achieving this.

We are pleased you tucked in here at Informationhood to follow up on this survey work. We are quite aware you must have glimpsed a lot about this remotely unique group who are very much revered in the Nigerian community. As such, we are always willing and ready to welcome your comments, observations of questions which, of course will be duly attended to. Stay tuned as we dig deep to provide you yet with another inspiring community research work. Good evening.

The Author

Emmanuel Chinaza

Hi! This is Emmanuel Chinaza. A seasoned content writer on all things necessary(it just helps that creativity spurs me on) . An optimist who is very willing to take risks, a big fan of Marcelo Biesla. With my pen, i just might change the world and lest i forget, nothing beats a plate of pounded cassava and Egusi soup!

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