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The Tivs are generally pragmatic and superstitious, they are one of the traditional Africa societies in Nigeria, they were essentially agriculturalist, both men and women farm using crude implements. The economy is supported by a system of market trade held every 5th day.

The tiv people use segmentation as a base for maintaining egalitarianism, Paul Bohaman is the ethnographer who conducted extensive study among the Tivs. he’s a British man.

Kinship system is patrilineal and families are generally polygamous. In history, Tiv has two sons “Ipusu” and “Ichango” who later became the founding father of the Tiv tribe. The smallest lineage is referred to as the minimal segment. A group of minimal segments related through a more distant ancestor is known as maximal lineage. Marriage system practice among the Tivs is a kind of exchange of commodity.


There are no established offices, that is why it is segmentary means of becoming a leader includes being a compound elder or acquiring personal prestige or even both. An influential elder is one who has sound knowledge of the society’s history, culture and has personal qualities. The culture defines all Tiv people as equal so the leaders are just primus inter pares- first among equals.

Another is that, it was the duty of the elders to ensure social order, they take care of Akombo (Spiritual forces) created by Aondo (God). Whenever something went wrong, it was the duty of the elders to rectify what went wrong and establish order in the society. The process of settling dispute in the TIV land is known as fussion and fission. The principle of fussion is segmentary opposition. This system does not allow conflicts spread.

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They (Tiv people) believe in Tsav and those possessing it are called Mbastav. It grows in the heart of human just a bit smaller than the liver.

There is also the issue of :
Good Tsav – pounded edges, colour red, white or black
Black Tsav – secreted edges, colour red, white or black
Bad Tsav – secreted edges, all colour altogether

It grows rapidly when it is fed with human flesh. It endeavours its possessor with Charisma, power and witchcraft. In 1939 there was a rebellion known as Anti Tsav movement dubbed the beef riot.

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