Virginity In The Old Testament And Contemporary Nigerian Society (A Case Study Of TIV Society, Benue State)
The subject of sex and everything related to it particularly as it bothers on the issue of virginity is always treated with caution because of its sensitivity in marital life. Previous Existing studies on Virginity as a concept and tradition in the Tiv thought have been approached from historical, psychological and medical perspectives with little attention paid to its religious dimension. Therefore, this work examined the virginity in the Old Testament and Contemporary Nigerian society. Hence, the study evaluated the practice of Tiv Thought System on Virginity, its place in the past and in the contemporary time in the contexts of growing moral challenges of chastity and prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases as well as HIV/AIDS.
The study was premised on the Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian ethical theory which was beefed up with data generated through oral interview with 100 people comprising 60% female and 40% male respondents and observation. The data was descriptively analysed. Consequently, it is discovered that the practice of virginity is gradually fading away due to exposure of the young men and women to western culture that is characterised by nudity, sex film and pornography through uncensored social media. Therefore, the work recommends the revival and religious and secular teachings related moral values, sex ethics, dignity of man and woman and sanctity of sex, which have a long way to preserving and observing the culture and tradition of female virginity in the contemporary Tiv society.
Table Of Contents
- Table of Content
- 1.1 Background To The Study
- 1.2 Statement Of The Problem
- 1.3 Aim And Objectives Of The Study
- 1.4 Methodology
- 1.5 Significance Of The Study
- 1.6 Scope Of The Study
- 1.7 Organisation Of The Study
- 1.8 Theoretical Framework
A Review Of Related Literature
- 2.1 The Concept Of Virginity
- 2.2 The Concept Of Morality
- 2.3 Virginity As A Moral Act
- 2.4 Virginity And Religion
- 2.5 Marriage And Virginity
- 2.6 Marriage, Celibacy And Virginity (Chastity)
Tiv Traditional Thought System On Virginity
- 3.1 The Tiv Of Benue State
- 3.1.1 Social Organisation And Political Structure
- 3.1.2 Tiv Religion
- 3.2 The Origin Of IkyôôR Cult In Tiv
- 3.2.1 Initiation Into IkyôôR Cult
- 3.2.2 The Relevance Of The IkyôôR In The Preservation Of Virginity, Integrity And Honour
The Religiocultural Importance Of IkyôôR Cult In The Preservation Of Virginity In Tiv Society
- 4.1 The Morality Of Virginity In Tivland
- 4.2 Health Issues In Premarital Sex
- 4.3 The Moral Issues Associated With IkyôôR In Tiv
The Discontinuity Of IkyôôR And Its Moral Effect On The Tiv Society
- 5.1 The Moral Life Of The Tiv Before The Advent Of Christianity And Civilisation
- 5.2 The Tiv Society At Present
- 5.3 Change And Discontinuity Of The IkyôôR Cult
- 5.4 Moral Effects Of The Change
Summary, Recommendations, Contribution To Knowledge And Conclusion
- 6.1 Summary
- 6.2 Contribution To Knowledge
- 6.3 Recommendations
- 6.4 Conclusion
- Works Cited
1.1 Background Of The Study
The word “virginity” first appeared in the 13th century, most frequently in reference to a young woman who has never had sexual intercourse with any man. This does not mean that only heterosexual young women are virgins. Anyone who has never had sexual intercourse, male or female, can be considered a virgin. Virginity is associated mostly with girls for two reasons. First, virginity traditionally has been, and still is, viewed form society’s dominant male and heterosexual perspective. A girl is considered to have lost her virginity only when a male organ has penetrated her. The second reason is because a girl’s hymen is ruptured which is associated with bleeding, which has long been considered as an evidence of sexual intercourse, (Annie Leah& Michael A. Sommers, 2000). Physical health and the emotional well-being of a person represent the central components of a person’s sexual health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As defined by the WHO in 2002: Sexual health is a point of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being of a person related to sexuality; it is not absolutely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive, respectful and proper approach to sexuality and sexual relationship, and also the possibility of having pleasure and protected sexual experiences which is free of coercion, discrimination and violence from the other partner.
Throughout human history a women’s life was said to have depend on her virginity. A woman who loses her virginity before getting married legally was punished: she was not honored, her family loses honor, no man wanted to marry her and in different cases she was killed. It did not matter if she lost her virginity voluntarily, or if she was raped. Women who lost their virginity when they were not yet married were denied the right to their family inheritance. This made life extremely difficult for them and as a result of that, many of these women ended up in prostitution. In most parts of the world, till today there are known as “honor crimes.” Women who lose their virginity before marriage, whether she lost it voluntarily or if she was raped, she can be beaten or killed by the family. Justification for this was that her father, brother or another male relative thinks she has done an abominable thing “not fair”. According to the “Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini” (a 15th century Law instituted in Northern Albania), which was used by Albanians until the beginning of the 20th century because of lack of state laws,” if a girl refuses a person that has proposed and there are no intensify circumstances she must therefore, remain a virgin till she dies”.
The first institution of learning is the family where moral values are learnt. Once these moral tenets are properly taught and strictly upheld in childhood, the process of transiting from adolescence to adulthood, they would treasure, respect and acknowledge these social values which must be brought to play on national life and there would be absolute peace in the society.
It is a fact that knowledge about human sexuality, reproductive health, and sexual ethics remains a veritable tool for a sustainable family. The child has to be protected against the abuse of sex and be helped to form the right sex habits from the very start. Sex is good, it is powerful but sex needs to be controlled and taken at the right time. In view of the above, sex education should create an awareness filled with respect for marriage and virginity (Igyeseh 84).
1.2 Statement Of The General Problem
Virginity in the Old Testament was seen as a thing of pride and people strive to remain virgins before marriage but regrettably that has not been the case in the contemporary Nigerian society. The menace of sexual rascality hand the low level of sexual abstinence has been a major problem especially for the Nigerian youth. the moral decadence in the Nigerian society has led to the high level of disvirginity as youths have thrown caution to the wind and has attached little or no importance to virginity as before marriage, this has affected several young marriages as the issue of trust has always reared its ugly head thus leading the broken homes and high level of divorce in the society.
Post-modern Tiv society has witnessed a decay in its moral culture. There is a sharp decline in morality and religious values. In their place there is a new culture of immorality, pornography, incest, lesbianism, homosexuality, nudity, and lewdness. These are all foreign to the Tiv culture and have impacted negatively on the Tiv society. Trust and responsibility have been pushed aside and in their stead, a new culture of unfaithfulness and lack of respect has suddenly become the order of the age.
However, among the Tiv of Central Nigeria, so many scholars have concerned themselves about some issues of academic interest based basically on their area perspectives. For example, Shagbaor Francis Wegh in his book titled, Between Continuity and Change: Tiv Concept of Tradition and Modernity asserts that chastity was a responsibility of parents to children and therefore the society cannot hold the children responsible for a contrary act (60). He was talking from a sociological perspective, thereby, leaving the religious import into the matter.
Similarly, TyughAbeghe narrated the socio-political ordeal of the Tiv in his book titled, The Tiv and Tiv Riots, focused on both remote and immediate factors that aggravated the Tiv riots that eliminated human capacity and scattered the economic means of the Tiv since 1960 and the spillover of that downgrade economy up to the present contemporary society but did not hinge on the religious life of the people (6482).
Relatedly, Dominic VaachiaYuhe, writing on The Encounter of Tiv Religious and Moral Values with Catholicism in the Time of “Secularisation”, maintained that through their catchesis, the missionaries got rid of the cohesion and the balance of the traditional beliefs and the mystical powers of men. The culmination of this kind of descaralisation is that the world will be gradually deprived of its sacral character as man and nature become the object of rational-causal explanation, where man will become independent of his traditional religion and live by reason, face to face with objectified physical nature (iii-iv).
Yuhe had a glimpse of the long term implication of this religious consciousness but little effort was made in his explanation to lay bare the religious implication of abandoning the religious undertone of abandoning the concept of virginity in Tiv religion.
Again, Alfred Akawe Torkula in his book titled, The Cosmology in Tiv world
View, elaborated on some critical institutions in Tiv cultural heritage like witchcraft (tsav), faires (adzov), justice (Swem), sacred Tiv music and dance, but failed completely to discuss the religious symbolism and social implication of the cult of virginity (Ikyoor) (6-9).
Furthermore, in his article in the Tiv in Central Nigeria, Philip Terdoo Ahile discusses the “socio-political challenges facing the Tiv in Nigeria” with emphasis on the problems of rebellion, aggression, domination, identity and economy. He called for the promotion, preservation and celebration of the totality of Tiv cultural heritage and history, through publications, conferences, symposia and sustained campaigns involving all Tiv (1-11).
Much recent is yet another work on the Tiv by MvendagaJibo titled Elite Politics in the Middle Belt of Nigeria, 1993-2014. He vividly captured the prime movers of politics and the challenges of leadership in Tivland as well as the challenges of interethnic politics in Nigeria but failed to look at the religious aspects (157).
Therefore, this research attempts to close the gap in scholarship by taking the aspect of religious practices as regards their impact on Tiv society and the society in general. The overall expectation is that there shall be a wholistic approach to paradigms of socio-religious integration and moral development of the people.
1.3 Aim And Objectives Of The Study
The main aim of this work is examining virginity in the Old Testament and contemporary Nigerian society. To achieve this, the objectives are to:
- Identify Tiv thought system on virginity.
- Analyse the thought system from a religio-ethical point of view.
- Bring to light, the benefits of observing the ethics of virginity among the Tiv
- Make recommendations that will help the society in dealing with some of the contemporary health challenges.
This thesis is divided into two parts, namely data collection and data analysis.
This is explained as follows:
1.4.1 Data Collection Procedure
Information needed for this research were generated through oral interview and observation. The procedure for generating data took the forms of oral interview and observation.
The researcher asked questions orally to both literate and nonliterate informants. A total number of 100 respondents were interviewed. 51 were female informants representing 51% of the population while 49 were males representing 49% of the population. These respondents were drawn from 24 farmers, 30 civil servants (educated people) and 29 businessmen and traders. All these were people who are acquainted with Tiv socio-cultural and religious life and were knowledgeable on other related aspects of Tiv ethical life. The design was to obtain as much as possible views that are not based on sentiments.
Here, the researcher visited villages and rural communities as well as major towns in Tiv which were selected for investigation, covering atleast the five geo-political zones that make up the local government areas in Tiv. The five geopolitical zones are Jemgbagh, Jechira, Kwande, Sankera and MINDA. Jechira zone has Vandeikya and Konshisha, which the researcher interviewed eight people within Vandeikya Local Government area, Jemgbagh has Buruku, Tarka and Gboko, twenty one persons were interviewed in Gboko. Sankera has Ukum, Logo and Katsina Ala. In this zone, the researcher used Logo and eighteen people were interviewed. Kwande Zone has Ushongo and Kwande itself and nineteen people were interviewed. Finally, MINDA has Makurdi, Guma, Gwer East and Gwer West; the researcher chose Makurdi and thirty two people were interviewed.
The study also used secondary sources drawing materials from books and similarly publications, dictionaries, electronic sources, magazines, newspapers and periodicals; the search through this method has balanced between what has changed and what has remained unchanged, succeeded in stricking a balance thus arriving at a sound conclusion.
1.4.2 Data Analysis
Analysis of data generated through oral interview and observation were carried out descriptively using simple percentages. The two data were integrated into one unified whole so as to enrich the researcher’s interpretation and conclusion. As used in this research, the simple percentage formula is captured thus:
- N represents the number of respondents TN represents the total number of respondents
- % represents percentage used for the calculation. This is expressed as x %
The data used constitute information generated from 100 people who are natives of Tiv in the fourteen local government areas found in Benue State. All the data generated were analysed using the utilitarian theory.
1.5 Significance Of The Study
This research work is to create awareness to the Africans in general and the Tiv in particular who have the mentality of looking at their culture as inferior. The research will revive the Tiv concept of morality.
This work is significant as it forms the bed-rock upon which other academic endeavours of this nature could dwell upon for further researches in the area of ethics and societal morals. The study is necessary and significant as it serves as a wake-up call in the area of sexual morality to lead the Tiv to behave in accordance with the wishes of a divine authority and also behave in a way that benefits society at large rather than their own narrow self interest.
This work is, therefore, meant to reawaken religious bodies and families in their roles: their complementary roles towards the development of the society seems to be weakened and as such should be checked to enhance a responsible and collective force towards the reinstitutionalisaiton of female virginity in this generation to go down history as a generation of morals. This will be the pride of the world in general,
Africans, Nigerians and the Tiv people in particular.
1.6 Scope Of The Study
This research work is concerned with virginity in the Old Testament and Contemporary Nigerian societyas an aspect of Tiv culture, in Benue state. It is therefore limited to the Tiv society. The study has explored how virginity is regarded among the Tiv to unveil the problem associated with it and the valuable aspects of virginity. It is limited to the fourteen local government areas in Tivland. These are: Buruku, Konshisha, Kwande, Tarka, Logo, Gwer East, Gwer West, Makurdi, Vandeikya, Gboko, Ukum, KatsinaAla, Guma and Ushongo Local Government Areas.
Pre-marital sex was discouraged and virginity observed in the fourteen local governments in Tiv land but within these local governments, Gwer West and East observed with modifications. While the remaining twelve local governments in Tiv used ikyooron young girl’s neck for protecting her virginity until marriage when it will be removed by her husband through igbianjov priestess before the husband could have access to her. In Gwer West and Gwer East, a girl would tie the shell on her neck but when she become of age, the shell could be removed by the Ingbianjov priestess and she will enter Ikyar until the right husband comes for her. This practice was also meant to protect her from violation by unauthorized men. The main religions interacted were Christianity and African traditional religion.
1.7 Organisation Of The Study
The thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter one deals with the general background to the study. While chapter two provides the review of related literature, chapter three is an overview of perspectives on the preservation of virginity in Tiv religion and culture. Chapter four focuses on the importance of ikyôôr cult in the preservation of virginity. Chapter five examines the discontinuity of ikyôôr and its moral effect on Tiv society. Chapter six rounds up with the summary, contribution to knowledge, recommendations and conclusion.
1.8 Theoretical Framework
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory which holds that the morality of an act consists essentially of its utility as a means for attainment of the happiness of man. Happiness in most cases is considered as temporal. In fact, if you wish to know whether an action is good or bad morally, find out whether it is useful or not. If it is useful, it is good, if it is harmful, it is bad (Eboh 45). Some ethicists view utilitarianism as a consequential theory because it generally tends to emphasise the consequences of actions. Within this school of thought the consequences of an act determine its moral value; if it is beneficial to many, then it is good, but if it causes harm to the larger number, then it is bad.
J. Bentham tends to equate happiness to pleasure, claiming that pleasure is that good which is desired by all men while pain is that evil which all men seek to avoid. He therefore argues that one state of affairs is to be considered better then another only if it involves a greater balance of pleasure over pain. For him, good does not concern that which each person pursues and believes to be his own happiness. He suggests that legislators should see it as their duty to strike a harmony between private interest and public interest. Thus Bentham identifies his utilitarian principles with the political affairs of the society (qtd. in Chukwujekwu 56).
Chukwujekwu alludes to J. S. Mill’s version of utilitarianism, which is said to represent the social and altruistic aspect of utilitarianism. Mill maintains that the first principle of utilitarianism is the utility or greatest happiness which holds that actions are right in proportion to the happiness they promote, and are wrong as in the degree to which they tend to promote (qtd. in Chukwujeku 57).
There are, however, two broad dimensions of utilitarianism. The distinction between these two forms of utilitarianism lies in the area of focus. While Actutilitarianism focuses on particular actions, rule-utilitarianism is concerned with rules.
This form of utilitarianism holds that what makes an action right is maximising total or average utility. For act utilitarians, the rightness or wrongness of an action should be decided on the basis of the consequences of such an action. Those actions that produce good results, that is, the greatest good for the greatest number, are good, while those that produce evil result, which is pain or unhappiness are evil. Here, as long as an action will produce the best possible results for the greatest number of people, that action should be performed.
This form of utilitarianism holds that the right action is that which is in consonance with those rules which would maximise utility if everybody accepted them. The operational word in this rule is “everybody” and, therefore, any rule that is to be adopted must be that which would be capable of producing useful consequences for the greatest number of people. When such a rule has been adopted, not to obey it would mean to act immorally because there is no justification whatsoever to violate such a rule that is capable of producing the greatest possible good for the greatest number of people (Eboh 46-47).
Summary, Contribution To Knowledge, Recommendations And Conclusion
Virginity and pre-marital sex are amongst the moral issues that linger in the contemporary Tiv society. This study has investigated the position of these concepts in the pre-colonial Tiv and found that virginity was greatly cherished in Tiv society for the sake of upholding purity, chastity and fidelity before marriage. The observance of female virginity was seen as a necessary condition to be fulfiled before the acceptance of marriage. This was not only done by the Tiv but by some other African societies.
The work looked at various views concerning the practice of virginity in Tiv and other areas, its relevance or importance on the Tiv as well as the challenges of abandoning it. Efforts have also been made to assess the adoption of Ikyôôr cult by the Tiv. It has been noted that Ikyôôr cult was traditionally ordained and adopted by the Tiv to regulate sexual misconduct. In doing this, the Tiv established the religiosity of the Ikyôôrcult which was characterised by its stiff sanctions, taboos and its purging rites and was ultimately accepted by most parts of the Tiv and the primary aim of the Ikyôôr was to preserve virginity, protect virgins and for chastity.
Violation of this cult was accompanied by severe punishment until appropriate appeasement was performed. The moral perspective surrounding the Ikyôôr cult was that, there were no cases of sexual moral decadence, sexual misconduct was easily dictated whenever they occurred. Even though among the Tiv, the Ikyôôr tradition was not instituted in MINDA geo-political zone which compromises of Masev, Ihyarev, Nongov, the idea of “ikyar” tradition in these areas too was meant to confine girls within an area in which they will not be exposed to waywardness.
The work examined the moral life of the Tiv before the advent of Christianity and Western civilisation, and the Tiv today and found that modernity and Christianity have been an enemy to the Tiv traditional values, especially that of Ikyôôr, which is seen as an element of witchcraft. Ikyôôr cult which once served as guidance to virginity has gone extinct and virginity is no longer regarded as a yardstick for validity of marriage.
The work therefore suggests ways of curbing pre-marital sex in Tiv. First, it advocates the introduction of sex education in the school curricula. Sex is good but must be engaged in at the right time and the right time for sex is marriage. The family is the foundation for moral teaching and families should not abandon their responsibilities. Religious institutions should also help in shaping children’s character, creation of job opportunities for the youth etc.
6.2 Contribution To Knowledge
The study made the following contribution:
Tivreligio-ethical thought system places value on sexual chastity, decency and virginity. Their values were guided with jealousy until now; there are various abuses that are eroding these core values in Tiv sexual morality.
Virginity is a key issue in Tiv sexual ethics. In Tivreligio-ethical thought system, it is a key value upon which the Tiv family is built. However, this central value that was once held in high esteem is now abused and misused.
The incidence of pre-marital sex is becoming alarming among the Tiv like other cultures. This is due to the neglect of traditional values and practices like Ikyôôr cult which was used as a way of persevering among unmarried girls in Tiv.
The high incidence of premarital sex in Tiv society today could be attributed to westernisation, declining role of traditional institutions and practice and Christianity.
Premarital sex and disrespect for virginity is also a factor that is affecting the foundation of marriages today, consequently, the cases of divorce and dysfunctioning marriages are rising on daily basis.
Having critically analysed the Tiv thought system concerning virginity and pre-marital sex, the following recommendations suffice as working tools towards the realisation of the moral dreams in the reconstruction, restricting and reorientation of the Tiv youths to reinstate confidence, dignity, chastity and value gradually being eroded by some immoral conducts and teachings of modernisation.
There is need for a renewed interest in the study of Tiv morality, assuming this posture means saving our inherent traditional values. The African society in general and the Tiv in particular must go back to their roots. To achieve this, the Tiv must work towards restoring their morality which was based purely on their customs, norms and values. This could be through the family, traditional leaders who are the custodians of Tiv values, the community, the church, the government, Mass Media, etc.
The Role of the Family: the family is the foundation for moral teaching. It is a primary unit of a wider society and therefore should make efforts towards inculcating moral values which are held by the entire community or society. The family ever since has always played a crucial part in training children. It lays the foundation both moral and spiritual in which the child is built later. Even when there were no formal schools, the family played an important role in knowledge acquisition, skills and attitudes. Therefore, for us to bring back what is lost, we must intensify home training and find appropriate ways of making it work since the formative years of a child are known to be most crucial in his or her character formation. The family is the bedrock of authentic formation to chaste living.
Education in sexuality and formation for chastity constitutes one of the major areas of children. It is in the family that every child discovers the meaning of human love. At the same time, the child learns to value human love as well as the difficulties inherent in living. Thus, family is the primary co-operator and most natural setting for formation in a child’s living. Indeed Christian parents discerning the signs of God’s call should devote to education in virginity as the supreme form of that self-giving that constitutes the very meaning of human sexuality. The study therefore encourages parents to give adequate education on human sexuality and morality to their children. Because such an important function of parents is no longer taken seriously, the child grows to see nothing wrong with being engaged into pre-marital sex. Parents have to rise to their responsibilities as first teachers of their children if the fight against premarital sex is to succeed. When children come out of homes whose parents do not care about their disciplines, the parents come to their rescue regardless of the gravity of the crime they commit in the society.
This type of condition further compounds the situation of the children who continue to have distorted notion of value in the society. To such children, going out to engage in pre-marital affairs would automatically get the approval of their parents who sometimes are into that kind of behaviour themselves (extra-marital affairs); such cannot help fight against pre-marital sex. The work calls for parents and guardians to not only provide the necessary needs of their wards but also spend quality time with them at home and teach them morals at early stage.
The Role of the Church: this is equally important, because it has the capability to save the Tiv from total decay. In doing this, less emphasis should be placed on prosperity and getting large congregation but a church that will know how to speak to its members, comfort them, invite, welcome, and instil values like peace, love, truthfulness, righteousness, fidelity, chastity etc., accepts people as their brother’s keepers.
The Church leaders, priests and pastors should continue to preach against immorality, especially premarital sex, that sex is good but must be taken at the right time and there should be conscious efforts at organising seminars for youths in their various Churches. Every Christian too lives out his/her experiences of faith in the ecclesial community of a local church. The call of God to priesthood and religious life is likewise given to those who are part of a church. Such a church where the members live their lives faithfully is a source of great help and support for each one in the community. Hence, the church has an indispensable part to play in the emergence of chaste living. This role can be effectively played if the church, the religious and the adult lay faithful influence the young by the example of their lives.
The promotion of chaplaincy services in institutions of higher learning is another step that can go a long way in educating the youths to avoid the appetite for pre-marital sex. It is commendable that many denominations are doing their best in this regard through chaplaincies services in Universities, Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Secondary Schools, but more needs to be done. With the presence of the clergy of various denominations in campuses to give sound moral and spiritual guides to students, it will contribute meaningfully to tackle immorality and premarital sex in the various forms. Different denominations should be able to provide care for the faith of these young ones so that they can grow to realise that the glamour for sex before marriage is not a good one. Most Christian denominations own private schools that are licensed by the government. These schools are principally meant to be citadels of not only intellectual learning but also moral discipline. Over the years, mission schools have earned the reputation of giving good backgrounds to persons of integrity and leadership in the society. This background must not be allowed to fade away in the face of the present trend. Mission schools must be seen as custodians of moral discipline to guide the young who are likely to fall prey to sex before marriage if not well informed on moral discipline.
To this end, the Hindu religion has something to offer to the youths in their teaching on Brahmacharya; which is “spotless chastity or purity in thought and deed”. It is the absolute freedom from sexual activity of whatever kind. This is very useful and necessary, especially in the present generation.
Poverty is identified as one of the factors that lead some youths to fall in their chaste living, premised on this, attention should be given to the welfare of children by their parents, guardian, especially the adolescents for they are more vulnerable to fall when tempted with money and other basic human needs far from their reach. To this end, hard work is recommended when you are poor strive to engage in entrepreneurial jobs, that will keep you busy, since idleness and laziness are also factors that militates some youths into immorality. Parents should develop or encourage youths to engage into programmes that will keep them busy. This will guard against the possibility of thinking lustfully. Tiv elite should help and encourage the youths to take up gainful employment while in school which would help alleviate poverty and detest from immoral acts.
Youths should avoid Intoxication: intoxicants destroy both physical and mental health. No one can be determined if he/she gets intoxicated, nor can he remain healthy as a youth. The pleasures derived from intoxicants might seem like nectar from the beginning, but they are poison in the end. Youth should be encouraged to avoid alcohol, they should rather engage in proper physical exercise so that when they master the muscles, they can more easily master the senses. Physical exercises tone and strengthen the heart, lungs and muscles, quiet the nerves, increases blood circulation, eliminate poison and decreases lust. Those who shun exercises are more likely to be overtly absorbed with sex and sense gratification. Youths should try to take care of the body by making sure it gets sufficient exercise.
Avoid Rationalisation: The mind can be very tricky and present may reasons to abandon sexual control. It is the habit of the mind to first accept and then reject. The mind can think of a thousand reasons to act or not to act. If we listen to the reasons of the mind, which are very often generalisations, we will never be resolute in our good intentions to sexual control. Youths should try to understand the mind’s rationalisation to engage in sense gratification.
Example of Formators and Teachers: the teachers and formators have crucial role in the formation of children; they should be people who are sexually mature and emotionally balanced. They need themselves to be thoroughly formed and be given adequate training and retraining in order to equip them for their work. Teachers must be thoroughly conversant with the vagaries of human nature and its development. Formators must create a formation environment where teachers and students seek to know the depth of the human heart. Above all, teachers should first and foremost, teach by the example of their own lives. Institutions of learning are places where the future of the society belongs. Unless institutions of learning inculcate proper formation into the students, the mental and physical development of students can be fragile in the face of contradictory values that can promote things like pre-marital sex, prostitution, drug abuse, etc. Accordingly, the following steps will be of importance to guarantee the full participation of our institutions of learning in the fight against these social ills.
Once the inclusion of the menace of pre-marital sex and others is done by the ministry of education, the teachers will then be left with the responsibility of ensuring that the topic is treated well inside and outside the classroom. In treating the issue of pre-marital sex, teachers will have to employ practical demonstrations like pictures and film shows to show how devastating the menace is. This can go a long way in combating the trend.
Inter-schools debates, conferences and symposia can be organised to bring students together for discussions on the issue of pre-marital sex. Through these academic channels, teachers can create among students,, various discussions on the issue of pre-marital sex. The students who are not able to hear of such happenings can through cross-pollination of ideas come to know of the happenings of the victims of pre-marital sex.
It is something commendable that some universities are beginning to raise alarm about the dressing styles of some of the female students. This action is caused by the fact that some of the female students are beginning to dress in such a ways as to suggest tendencies towards sexual licentiousness. This action of the authorities of some of the universities like in the University of Jos, Lagos, Madonna and Benue State Universities are to be encouraged in order to discourage the naked invitation to the activities of pre-marital sex. Such an environment that frowns at near nudity can help students avoid the trap of pre-marital sex. With the efforts of the universities well harnessed, the authorities of various universities can push for sponsorship of policy oriented research in the area of immorality. Considering the effects of immorality on the future of the society, professors cannot but seek for ways of research sponsorship to enable scholars dig into the complexities of the menace and proffer solution as to how to fight it. More research into causes of pre-marital sex can expose more the activities and the students will be better equipped about how to avoid giving in to factors that can lead them into pre-marital sex. Institutions of learning can indeed do a lot in the fight against pre-marital sex. As citadels of learning, what they teach goes a long way to shape the minds of students who in turn will become future leaders of the society.
Traditional institutions are also one of the most revered institutions in the Tiv society. There can be no mention of upholding traditional values without traditional institutions. It is in this light that traditional rulers should seek the continuous respect of the values of the society like obedience, moral discipline and community spirit which are in many respects at variance with the behaviour of pre-marital sex. With emphasis on obedience, moral uprightness and community spirit, pre-marital sex and extra marital affairs will not occupy the minds of women and girls.
Traditional rulers should not only emphasise the need for respect for societal values but also enlighten their subjects on these societal values because many in this generation belong to antiquity and are superseded by modernisation typified by unguarded sexual liberty. Such enlightenment can go a long way in awakening the consciousness of the youth in a special way to avoid disrespect to cultures in the name of modernisation.
Traditional rulers can further stress that values that safeguard humanity transcend time and generations. If values are stressed as transcending generations, avoidance of pre-marital will not be viewed as out dated. Apart from emphasising the dignity of maintaining our traditional values, traditional rulers can come out in practical ways to voice out their displeasure for the culture pre-marital and other social ills like drug abuse, etc.
Traditional rulers can equally come together in their meetings like state traditional councils to make joint pronouncement in the form of communiqués frowning at the menace of pre-marital and other social ills. The coming together of traditional fathers in this form will then speak loud enough. In an age of multimedia communication such as ours, various traditional rulers cannot be seen to be left behind in exploring such advantages. Traditional rulers can, on individual or collective levels sponsor campaigns through radio, television, bill boards and cultural gatherings to promote the fight against pre-marital sex and other social ills that affects the youth in Tiv society.
The voices of the traditional rulers are indeed very significant in the fight against pre-marital sex if success must be recorded. Traditional rulers represent the traditional values of communities that make up Tiv nation and as they lead their voices against pre-marital sex, it will go a long way to fight pre-marital sex. Since this fight is a fight that needs everyone on board, they effort of the print and electronic media is also needed.
The Print and Electronic Media: The world today is ordered by the print and electronic media. It is in this light that the power of the media is great in the struggle against pre-marital sex and other social ills. The media have the capacity of painting a wonderful picture of what Tiv women and girls do and many will believe it. The media equally have the potential of putting in clear perspective the menace of premarital sex and changes can be positively effected. Accordingly, the efforts of the print and electronic media will be as follows.
The print and electronic media have contributed in publicising the activities of pre-marital sex e.g “zip up” and “abstinence”. This support has been in the promotion of the campaigns of the government and the non-governmental organisation in the fight against pre-marital sex. The promotion of immoral programmes and films should be encouraged by the media since the young are often the first victims of such. More programmes which portray the riches of societal values like sexual restraint should be discouraged. Such programmes that uphold virginity and frown at immoral behaviour should be encouraged. Through this, the young will grow to appreciate the dignity of sexual discipline and not seek to imitate something that runs contrary to decency.
The film industry can significantly serve as the means of promoting the cave of anti-pre-marital sex crusade. The film industry passes quick visual messages and can be a wonderful instrument for the fight against pre-marital sex. The home video is big business today in Tiv and is patronised by many homes in the country. Through the joint efforts of producers, actors/actress and marketers, the message depicting the horrors of pre-marital sex can be brought out in films. The importance of the print and electronic media in the fight against pre-marital sex cannot be over emphasised. This is an age of mass media and its full benefits must be brought to bear on Tiv and the nation at large. The media indeed hold a significant place if the struggle against premarital sex is to succeed.
The norms and values of the Tiv like that of Ikyôôrshould be given a serious attention. Ikyôôr should be modernized to stand a taste of time. This understanding is very useful especially now that the Tiv are multiplying exceedingly and new problems and challenges are evolving every day, such as sexual immorality and incurable diseases. In the past, Tiv values were adopted to sustain morality and to unite them in harmony with common identity and culture. The harmonious unity and identity of ancient Tiv can still be maintained if proper attention is being given to the tradition. There should be a new approach in the study of the olden traditional values. By this position, many of the inherent traditional codes will be amplified.
Contemporary scholars with research interest in Tiv should understand that morality is the main anchor that stabilizes the unity of the Tiv nation in the precolonial era. Therefore, they should encourage other researchers not to shy away from researching on contemporary moral issues that will help build the Tiv, they should understand writing on Tiv culture will help the younger generation and encourage them to learn about their culture. To this end, the study recommends the efforts of Dzurgba, Shishima, Waapela, Adega, Torkula, Iortyom, Gbor, Wegh, etc. They should do more, since this is improving and giving colour or exposing the Tiv culture in a positive light.
Even though abstinence is not easy, it keeps one free from all the consequences of pre-marital sex and sex outside marriage. Self-control and discipline are important virtues that are useful in sexual morality. The involvement of every person and every organisation, the government, medical, legal fraternities, pharmacentical companies and businesses, communities is recommended here.
Having examined what was obtained in the pre-colonial Tiv society, it is no doubt that colonialism brought both positive and negative changes in African societies in general and the Tiv in particular. It is true that before the advent of colonial rule or western culture in Tivland, the Tiv had strong traditional values that held them together, but a reflection on modern Tiv morality is thus a reaction contrary to the Tiv morality. Traditional taboos and sanctions are no longer valued, and a new way of life has taken over which leads to a new kind of morality.
There are several reasons why many societies value women or girls who have preserved their virginity prior to entering into marriage. Though some are of the opinion that the preservation of virginity has no relevance in today’s world and as such should not be a topic of discussion. This work argues with relevant reasons that the preservation of virginity should be discussed.
The African traditional societies in general and the Tiv in particular have a sense of morality which is imbedded in their lifestyle and this ethical values help to guide and regulate the conduct of individuals in the society. Virginity, for instance, was greatly cherished and honoured for the sake of upholding purity, chastity and fidelity before marriage. This was done through the tying of the snail shell on the girl’s neck by Ingbian-Jov priestess. Ikyôôrcult was traditionally ordained and adopted by the Tiv to regulate sexual conduct, preserve and protect virgins until they are matured for marriage. By so doing this established the religiosity of the Ikyôôrcult which was characterized by its stiff sanctions and taboos. Its violation accompanied severe punishments until appropriate appeasement was done. The moral perspective surrounding the Ikyôôrcult was that cases of sexual moral decadence were minimal since sexual misconduct was easily dictated whenever they occurred.
The work, therefore, calls for the contemporary scholars with research interest in Tiv to take a second look at the situation with the understanding that morality is the main anchor that stabilises the unity of Tiv nation in the pre-colonial era and since it has gone extinct, it must be revived instead of shying away from researching on the contemporary moral issue. It is only by doing this that our traditional values, and codes will be amplified and help build our Tiv nation to what it used to be in the precolonial time. The research finally calls for a return to the practice of Ikyôôrcult in a ‘modernised form’ since it can help restore the moral life of the Tiv man.
Virginity In The Old Testament And Contemporary Nigerian Society (A Case Study Of TIV Society, Benue State)
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