One behavioural pattern common to a Tiv man is to make his visitor comfortable. He may choose to be hungry but feed his visitor after which he would start taking care of himself by arranging for his table. He may even choose to wake his wife up at midnight to cook for the visitor. The essence is to make his visitor comfortable. He does not consider food something of importance as he often says that food is merely that can be passed out as faeces after a short time.
To this end, a typical Tiv man would not hesitate to slaughter a fowl or goat for his visitor to enjoy himself when he himself would be eating only draw soup reluctantly. He would feed you before asking you which part of the society you come from. He thinks involving you in discussion without giving you food is incorrect. By doing well to people dispassionately, he at times takes care of people that are not responsible; people that could not reciprocate his good gesture. This is why the Tiv man came out with a saying that “if you do not travel out you will feed foolish people.”
The major concern of a Tiv man as regards hospitality is food. Food to him is nothing worthy of importance. A visitor that declines to eat his food is regarded as an enemy. This explains why people who are not prepared to eat would at least sit at his table and take just one or two morsels. This action alone makes a Tiv man happy, as to him, his visitor has eaten his food.
When it is possible for the visitor to spend a night, a Tiv man does not hesitate to make him comfortable by leaving his bed for the guest. If his guest is to stay for several days he allows his visitor to sleep on his bed for the number of days. This makes the visitor leave with the impression that his host is a good man.
A famous preacher of the gospel, Rev. Dr. Kurugh Antiev while throwing more light on this aspect of Tiv man’s hospitality, informed that the Tiv man in those days was more interested in his visitor than even his brother or neighbour. He told Friday Magazine that the Tiv man in those days would stop at nothing to make his guest comfortable. He revealed that most of the visitors after getting good treatment by the Tiv people became so close that they chose to settle with him in his place. In some places such people have however become sources of problem for the communities, he noted.
It is highly erroneous and a misconception to think that something contrary to the hospitality of a Tiv man is in circulation. The misperception as learnt by Friday Magazine is the idea that a Tiv man chooses to give his guest his own wife to sleep with. For any relationship with a Tiv man to last long is to avoid casting lustful eyes on his wife. He would not hesitate to stab you to death because of his wife. Sometimes he would not be patient to wait to confirm what he has heard before descending on the accused.
Reacting to this, Rev Antiev explained that giving one’s wife to a guest is not part of Tiv man’s culture and it would never be part of it. A Tiv man, according to him, is always conscious of his wife and highly jealous and emotional when it comes to issues concern her. Those who are God-fearing always take such problems to the church for settlement while others would angrily attack the victim.
Also commenting on the issue,Rev Stephen Anshiom Adugu said, the idea of a Tiv man giving his wife to a stranger to sleep with remains a story without facts and foundation. He insisted that nobody can tell exactly where he had enjoyed such a thing in Tiv land. The cleric noted that most marriage separations in Tiv land are attributable to the issue of having relationship outside matrimonial home. “A Tiv man will not hesitate to kill a visitor that makes any attempt to lure his wife into having affairs with her,” he insisted.
One elder Kunde, a yam farmer who also spoke with Friday Magazine informed that he would prefer to pay a labourer twenty times per line than allowing anybody that sleeps with his wife to dig the whole farm free of charge. He noted that he would prefer to be poor than to get a flashy car or even an airplane from any man that sleeps with his wife. “I don’t want that car or that airplane. I will destroy it as soon as I see it. I better remain poor.”
As to the origin of the speculation, Friday Magazine gathered that there was a famous permanent secretary in the Benue state civil service (name withheld) who was powerful in all aspects. This powerful permanent secretary went to Government College Katsina Ala where those that knew him revealed that he started his pompous and promiscuous life style. As a permanent secretary, he would not hesitate to run after people’s wives.
We have it on good authority that there was a famous and wealthy Tiv man in Gboko town in Benue state who was not educated. The powerful permanent secretary was sleeping with this man’s wife. When this rich man could not know what to do, he dragged the then permanent secretary to an area court in Katsina Ala, Benue state. As gathered by Friday Magazine, it was at the area court in Katsina Ala that the man told the court that a Tiv man did not have rules about house wives; that a Tiv man could even give his visitor his wife to sleep with her and that would be no problem.
The case, as learnt, necessitated the area court judge (name withheld), a Gwer born legal practitioner to resign his appointment as judge as he was in a fix. He felt he could even risk his job in the hands of the powerful permanent secretary. The legal practitioner of several decades of practice is still in the private practice.
One Mr. Samuel Hiikyaa who confirmed the story informed that the late permanent secretary was his school mate even as he was his senior. He revealed that from their first day in the school they got to know about him. The way he thundered why addressing new students made some students to quietly pack their things and left as they were afraid of what the future would hold, with the man as their senior.
Mrs. Veronica Iorshe who also spoke to Friday Magazine lamented the way the late perm sec was living his life. He said that she knew the area court judge whom the case was taken to in Katsina Ala and even why the judge resigned his appointment. “But let me tell you that for a Tiv man to give his wife to his visitor or anybody is the last thing he will do,” she stressed.
She wondered how many visitors the late perm sec had given his wife to. Mrs. Iorshe noted however that in law court some people say so many things just to save them from being convicted. “What the man said has no place for justification in Tiv land,” she insisted.
The foregoing is why it has become obvious that, for one to maintain his relationship with a Tiv man is to avoid any attempt to sleep with his wife, as any attempt is capable of risking both the friendship as well as his life.

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