According to oral tradition of Tiv origin, those people came to their current location (Benue River in Nigeria) from the southeast. Official history recorded that the Tiv tribe had the first contact with Europeans in November 1907. It was the contact with Southern Nigeria Regiment led by Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Trenchard.
The tribe has a story of their first ancestor, a man known as Takuruku, Gbe, Shon, Awanje, and Karagbe. Tiv people believe that he is their founding father. The ancestor gave birth to two children Ipusu and Ichongoa. Ichongo gave birth to Ikyura, Gondo, Nongo, Mase, Ihar, and Turan, while Ipusu gave birth to Kum, Kpar, Shitire
The Tiv People of Benue State have one of the best cultural beliefs in
They regard strangers as gods, and in
some cases, protect their visitors with
their lives. The Tiv’s kindness to strangers is Lengendary, but
unfortunately, this kindness was seen as weakness and taken for
The “Gbango” yam of the Tivs is their
pride. The gbango yam is the sweetest
yam specie anywhere in the world. The yam has high glucose and fiber content.
The primary occupation of the Tiv People is farming and their
strengths are a mystery.
A Tiv man will cultivate 100hectares of
farmland with the help of his famiy, using primitive farm tools.
That’s why in the olden days, a Tiv Man will marry up to 6wives, in
order to produce children that will help him in the farms. A Tiv Man
loves his wives and children, and also
protect them with his life…because his life and wealth lies in them.
Gbango yams gained lot of popularity
and there became influx of traders into the Tiv Land…..to buy and
transport the yams to other places in Nigeria.
The headquarters of production, and
also the highest concentration of the Tiv People, before the eventual
spread, was at Zaki-Biam.
Notable traders such as Umoru, Sako
and Okafor were among the first to
come to Zaki-Biam. Umoru was a magician and a trader who came from the
North, he had a bird who goes before him during journeys, to see
whether the area was less-dangerous….it was a “gossip bird”.
What became the greatest ever fallacy in Nigeria, started when Umoru
came to Zaki-Biam to buy gbango yams.Umoru was received by Terkaa, the
man regarded as the “King of Yams” in Zaki-Biam. Terkaa had five wives
and 11children….the fifth wife, Torkwase,was newly married and had
no child. Umoru was to spend the night in Terkaa’s home, which in the
morning, he would go and buy yams in the Market Square.
A Tiv Man builds houses for each of his wives, Round Huts or Thatch Houses.
Umoru was given pounded yam and
smoked fish that night, and stayed
outside with his bird. At 11pm that night, Terkaa instructed Torkwase
to make thewooden bed for Umoru to sleep……as Strangers were
allowed to sleep in the beds, while the home owner will either sleep
outside the room or on the floor of the room.
The males in Tiv Land, everynight,
worship the “gods of yams”, they would leave by 12am and spend two
hours making sacrifices and incantations to the “gods”….it is said
that their strengths were gotten from these “gods”
Terkaa told Umoru to sleep in
Torkwase’s Round hut(house), as she will prepare the bed for
him….because Torkwase had space as she’s got no child.
When Terkaa and his children left to
adore and worship the “gods of yams”,
Umoru went to Torkwase’s room and
slept with her. Umoru thought Terkaa
offered his wife to him or Maybe Umoru used charms and trickery to
sleep with Torkwase.
For weeks, during his visits to Zaki-Ziam,
Umoru would have sex with Torkwase.
Torkwase never told her husband what
was happening, as she never got
attention from her husband(she lacked sex) and may have enjoyed having
sex with Umoru, because Umoru may have used “Burantashi” during sex
Umoru told Sako and Okafor, the other traders, about his “free gift”
from Terkaa and told them to try their luck……Sako and Okafor were
successful, undermining the Tiv Man’s Kindness.
Umoru went to the North, and told themthe news of the Tiv Man’s “kind
gesture”…with Sako and Okafor doing
Unknown to the Tiv People, lots of
traders flock to their lands to do
business in order to experience the “kind gesture”…..unfortunately,
they were successful, as the Tiv Man married as many wives as
possible, but failed to meet their sexual demands.
The Tiv Men had no idea of what was
happening in their Lands.
On one of his numerous journeys to
identify groups of people who spoke the Tiv Language, the King of the
Tivs(Tor Tiv), stumbled on this development.
The Tiv People are believed to have
migrated from Congo to Nigeria, and they are scattered within the
North of Nigeria, from Benue to Plateau to Adamawa to Taraba State.
So the Tor Tiv’s assignment was to
identify them and incorporate them
under one “Umbrella”.
It was on this journey to one of the Local Governments in Plateau
State, that the Tor Tiv learnt that traders coming into his lands,
were sleeping with his women.
The King came home and summoned a meeting. Wives were called and they
confessed sleeping with those traders.
The Men were furious and after much
deliberations, resolutions were reached.
No man should sit close or touch another man’s wife without
permission, and the husband is allowed to kill the defaulter.
They feel killing the traders who
perpetrated those shameful acts, will
send strong warnings to visitors who
wish to come to their lands……a decision that would turn out to haunt them.
Umoru’s “gossip bird” had already told