The People of TIV


Tiv people are estimated to be around 6-7million in population, their origin can be traced to middle-belt part of Nigeria which include Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states. Few of them also expanded to Cameroon, who shares border with Nigeria.

It is believed that Tiv people are descendant of a man called Takurudu, Shon, Gb, Awanje and Karagbe who was referred to as the founding father of Tiv. The people shares a wit relationship with Fulani who they met on their way down from River Congo and Cameroon Mountains. Before they contacted the Europeans in 1852 at the bank of Benue, who combated forces against Tiv for the protection of Hausa and Jukun. It was said the Tiv people were able to defeat the British before inviting them in, 1911.


The most recognized attire of TIV is a striped black and white otherwise known as ANGER. The use of this attire can be traced to their hunting days, where they use Zebra skin for ceremonial attire. Which is accompanied by black and white necklaces to match the attire.

Tiv are known for their art weaving, other fabric use by them are, Tugudu, Ivvavtyo, Gbev-whaa, Godo, Gurugu, Chado, Deremen, Lishi and Gbagir.


The minimal level of Tiv lineage is called Ipaven who live together with their kin called TAR. However, there is no councils, no chiefs nor administrative divisions unlike most West Africa tradition but the choice of leadership is based on age, Influence and affluence of individual among the people. Which help for safe, proper conduct including arbitrate of deputes within lineages.


There mode of communication during the primitive era include:


This can otherwise be called Ortoyom which means MESSENGER, it was used among leader and elders to send information among them, especially for important or crucial meeting.

Kolugh Ku Bua

This literally means COW HORN; it is mostly used by famers to announce when they have job to do. This medium is handle by the spokesperson of the farmer’s association.

Furthermore, they make use of both vertical and horizontal mode of communication from the leaders down to the people and vice – versa. They also make use of both physical and metaphysical means to communicate.

They still practice some of their traditional communication system including their Music and dance.


Their various musical instruments are;

Kakaki: it’s like a trumpet that is use to pass important message for important reasons. Example is the crowing of the king, birth from the royal family or when there is an attack from opposition.

Gbande: it’s a set of crafted wooden instrument that is used to compliment agbande at festivals. Which is usually handled by young men of the community. It communicates special messages during the festival.

Akya: is usually accompany with Agbande and Ageda during the festivals to pass message across to the people for cultural display.

Indyer: it is made from mahogany trunk during festivals like Yam festival to pass information to the people such as to announce the success of a good harvest year.

Adiguve: it looks like modern day violin that is played to the admiration of all and used during the death of an elder in the community.

Ilyu: it is made of light wooden instrument, which is used to pass message directly to the people of Tiv. It is also for the celebration of newly wed.

Compiled by SEUN APHOR

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