SHOCKER! Meet The Tiv Tribe Of Nigeria Where Akombo Divination Is Used To Create Diseases • illuminaija

SHOCKER! Meet The Tiv Tribe Of Nigeria Where Akombo Divination Is Used To Create Diseases

SHOCKER! Meet The Tiv Tribe Of Nigeria Where Akombo Divination Is Used To Create Diseases

Records have it that the earliest contact the Tivs had with the European was in 1852 when they were found on the banks of the Benue. But of course, their history didn’t start from there.

According to oral tradition, the Tivs are said to have emerged into their present location from the southeast.

And it is believed they journeyed through southern, south-central and west-central Africa before arriving at the savannah lands of West African Sudan via the River Congo and Cameroon Mountains.

Arguably the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria, the Tivs is an ethnolinguistic group in West Africa with a population of over seven million throughout Nigeria and Cameroon; with its language spoken in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau, Cross River, as well as FCT Abuja.

SHOCKER! Meet The Tiv Tribe Of Nigeria Where Akombo Divination Is Used To Create Diseases

The majority of Tiv do believe that their original home was to the southeast and inside Cameroon.

Because of the influence of westernization, some Tiv have converted to Christianity, and a lesser number have adopted Islam; but the ones who hold onto traditional religion, have the power to manipulate forces known as ‘akombo’.

Those who wield this power can use the akombo to create diseases. There is also an organization of elders who can repair the manifestations of the diseases that the akombo is used to create.

When Tiv people become ill, they assume that an akombo is the cause. That means either that some person of ill will has ritually manipulated the akombo so that it would seize a victim.

To determine just which akombo is involved, the Tiv consult diviners who throw chains of snake bones and pods to determine which akombo have been used to cause illness or create social misfortune.


When the responsible akombo is revealed, the Tiv perform rituals to neutralize it. They must also remove the malice that activated it.

The latter is achieved by a modest ritual in which every person concerned takes a little water into his or her mouth and spews it out in a spray, signifying that any grudges are no longer effective.

Medicines will work only after the ill will is ritually removed and the akombo repaired. The ritual for each akombo varies, but the climax of all is a prayer that “evil descend and goodness ascend.” These rituals are as much group therapy sessions as they are religious acts.

Tiv recognize two major categories of akombo – small and great akombo. The small akombo is used to attack individuals and their farms; it can be repaired by sacrificing minor animals such as a chicken. Turtles, goats or rams can also be used as special sacrificial animals.

Coins or other forms of wealth can be added to a less valuable sacrificial animal to make it taller and so serve as a more valuable one.

The great akombo, on the other hand, attack social groups; they must be repaired either by the elders of the community acting by day, or by a secret group acting by night.

At the end of any akombo ritual carried out by day, or as the last act of any funeral, the Tiv prepare and break a symbol called swem. Made in a potsherd from hearth ashes and symbolic plants, it is held high, then smashed to earth. The ashes, spreading on the breeze, mean that justice spreads through the land and that swem will punish evildoers.

Most Tiv claim not to know the details of any akombo or its ritual, and all deny knowing that the ritual was carried out at night. But they never suggest that any part of it is a mystery.


Tiv say “God knows” at funerals if they can find no other reason for the death. They mean that they have not yet discovered the human motivation behind the misfortune.

But they do not question that someone could be behind the death and that ultimately it will be detected and either neutralized or punished.


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