- The respect which was found among the youth in Tiv society seems to be disappearing very fast especially with the increase in the number of educated youth in Tiv society. To trace this act to education is tantamount to rejecting the appreciable contribution that Western education has made over the decades on the life of the African society. To blame the attitude on ignorance is sheer arrogance that goes with inability to accept change in one’s life and the life of society. Our contemporary society is left in a dilemma between acceptance and denial of erosion of values in the 21st-century society. No doubt, it is not out of place for us to speak of the decay in moral values in Tiv Land. These immoral acts are particularly manifesting themselves in forms that are contributing to the degrading status of the woman especially adolescent girls of school ages. This is an age that determines whether a girl or boy is going to grow into a responsible woman or man.
- In terms of sexual intercourse among the Tiv in which Mbadede belongs, only marital conjugal love is accepted; any sexual relationship outside marriage is a moral evil. Our way of life as Kunav (Tiv) with its penchant for virginity has been worn out by some moral evils among them which is pre-marital sex. It has destroyed our root so much that we have abandoned the culture that our ancestors bequeathed to us. Pre-marital sex is on the increase and it has become a threat to human virginity, especially among the Tiv people whose traditional sexual ethics revolve around chastity and respect for human virginity. Among many reasons as to why this evil is on the increase is the misuse of sex under the guise of love. Another reason is a means by which youth, especially the poor teenage girls to make ends meet in the global economic situation in our contemporary society. While in some cases, it is the work of agents of the devil to destroy the good work of God. This has led to fearless exposure of youth which has caused many problems to the Kunav. This has led to acts that were like taboos to our traditional ethics which has been a moral way of behavior among kunav youth.
- In recent times, it has been common for boys and men to indiscriminately touch the girls or women on either their buttocks or breasts either in public or in a private place. The question is: what is happening now? The easier way of greeting among the youth by hugging and pegging in the public without fear on anyone. In as much as being a human means to be sexual being, we still need to be careful with the level of pre-marital sex in order to maintain dignity of virginity in our society.
- It is an acknowledged fact today that prostitution is a world-wide phenomenon, but there are stereotypes which seem to attribute the act of seduction and promiscuity to a particular set of people or nation. This behavior has a lot of negative implications on the girl child, women and the Kunav people in particular, and the whole of Tiv nation at large. The advent of Christianity in Tiv land and the eventual introduction of Roman Catholic Missionary Primary Schools in various districts ware to institute moral values in the young children. The Catholic Church building on the maxim, “Catch them young,” felt the child is an agent of change and can influence the behaviour of their parents as soon as education of the child commences at the tender age. The expected fruits of early education are now seen that they would be leaders in Kunav. There is a direct replacement of good moral with negative vices like communal clashes, rape, thuggery, early marriages, elopement and low attendance to Christian functions. No wonder no parent is appreciated for marrying out a virgin at any special ceremony in Kunav in particular the Tiv society in general as it used to be decades ago. This research is an attempt to analyze these problems and explain how they devalue the Kunav sexual ethics, and bring out possible solutions to stop this illicit behaviour. It is also a call for the Kunav people, Tiv nation at large and those ethical values concerned promoters to promote virginity and abandon premarital sex.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
- In the past centuries, there was high respect and honour to human sexual relationship. This was only meant for the nature of couples. In the Tiv society, the people were known for possessing some fundamental, ethical values that gave them the sense of unity that no other nation had in Nigeria. As such, when a certain age group was to be initiated into the adult group, there were celebrations, and every member of the community would be in attendance to honour those who were to be initiated. During this period, the Kunav people kept close to their traditional ways of life such as one would not even think of having sex with another person if one were not married. Such cultural ceremonies were supplemented when Christianity came in contact with the Tiv cultures in Kunav in the early nineteenth century. The impact of Christian values on the Kunav people over this identified period of time has been very minimal. Today, the world has changed its course. Virginity no longer has honour and reversed. It is perceived as pejorative and potentially divisive, not only among the youths but also adults and it act across cultural bounds. The church on the other hand, is witnessing cases of pre-marital sexual intercourse among students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. This development poses a threat and challenge to the Kunav traditional sexual ethics. To crowd this illicit act is the widespread of HIV/AIDS in Benue State. This behaviour calls to question the long years of Christianity in Tiv land and among the people of Kunav in Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State. The researcher is, therefore, confronted with the following questions to answer in this research.
- What are the values in Christianity that prompted the condemnation of Tiv cultural practice of “Saaikyor”? Is there any affinity between premarital sex, HIV/AIDS spread and the economic development of the people? Why there is the abuse of marital sexuality in form of pre-marital sex? Why in spite of parental and religious continuous instructions, pre-marital sex still increases among the Kunav youths? Of what effect is the decline in Kunav traditional sexual ethic to the Kunav Land? What can be done to eradicate the situation? The researcher looks forward to answering these questions empirically with good evidences.
- AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- The aim of the study is to examine pre-marital sex and its effect on the Kunav people of Benue State. The objectives are as follows:
- To examine critically the excesses of sexual abuse in Vandeikya Local Government Area;
- To give a directive and insights into Kunav traditional ethics on sexuality, especially to non-Tiv speaking tribes;
- To increase knowledge on the spread of HIV/AIDS as coming from illicit sexual intercourse;
- To determine how having sex before marriage has weakened the traditional sexual ethics among the Kunav people, especially on virginity; and
- To suggest appropriate strategies that would help stop or reduce the threat of sex before marriage among the youths in Vandeikya Local Government Area.
- METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY
- The study uses expository and evaluative methods of analysis for the following reasons. The expository method is used for the purpose of x-raying the reason why Christian values have not deep root among the youths in Vandeikya after a long time. Then, the evaluative method will be used for the purpose of critical examination of the impact of pre-marital sex on the youth and the economic life of the people in Benue State, especially in era of HIV/AIDS pandemic. The Focus Group Discussion (FGD) will be used to provide empirical data to support the data collection.
- Both primary and secondary sources are to be used. In the primary source, oral interviews are to be used where appropriate, while in the secondary sources from books, journals, periodicals encyclopedias, internet and any other literary work that has relevant information to the topic of the research or study.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
- The significance of this work is to expand knowledge on premarital sex and how it affects youths in Kunav Land. This will go a long way in re-awakening the consciousness of the people of Kunav, especially to the youth on the plight of pre-marital sex and its moral implication on the lives of the people. Experience has shown that little attention is shown to this category of people in our society, especially as parents and guardian concentrate more on making money to the detriment of building the future of the future leaders in our country.
- The research work brings to the fore the reality of immorality and social vices in our society and for those who are in social counseling section to build up their capacity so as to handle the uprising timely. The guidance and counseling unit would have enough materials to use in advising the youths and their parents. Therefore, the desire of this research work is to see the great importance of this social work trying to yield a good result of discipline and morality in a child through counseling, organization of moral and interactive programme and other well-coordinated social activities.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
- This study is limited to pre-marital sex in Vandeikya Local Government Area and how this practice affects the values of Christianity. And for a better understanding of the study, it covers the Vandeikya people and also limit on their twelve wads which include: Mbadede, Mbajov, Mbakaange, Mbagbam, Mbakyaha, Mbagbera, Township, Nigev, Tsambe, Mbayongo, Mbatyough, and Nyimangbav.
- All this made up Kunav which the local government is giving another name Vandeikya (rock of monkeys); the two names either Vandeikya or Kunav mean the same thing. The study shall use Vandeikya Local Government from where the findings are generalized to represent the Tiv traditional world view. The study shall cover pre-marital sexual relationships as it relates to Kunav traditional concept of virginity.
- ORGANIZATION OF CHAPTERS
- Chapter one deals with the general background to the study while chapter two reviews the related literature on the topic of discourse. The research traces it at three different levels of study. The Christianity viewpoint, Islamic viewpoint and African traditional religion viewpoint. Chapter three deals with the factors responsible for premarital sex among youth in Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State. Chapter four looks at the effect of premarital sex on youth in Vandeikya Local Government Areas and Tiv society in general. Chapter five concludes with the summary, recommendations and conclusion of the research work.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
- The following concepts are given definitions in the context in which they are used in the study.
Pre-Marital: This simply refers to before marriage (pre-marital sex – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia), the term refers to something that happens prior to marriage.
Sex: The concept sex means the condition of being either male or female, what is connected with the bodily system of producing children. It is also the act of sexual relationship between two people (Procter, 120).
Pre-Marital Sex: This is a sexual act that can be carried out before marriage; this could be for both male and female and anyone who knows about sexual intercourse, through active participation before official marriage is effected by pre-marital sex. Pre-marital sex is any sexual intercourse that occurs before marriage; whether it is from persons who are due to marry each other soon or who have already fixed their marriage data, (Saluun, 100).
Virgin: The Oxford Advanced English Dictionary 8th Edition defines virgin as a person who has never had sexual intercourse, or sometimes, one who has never engaged in any sexual activity, at all.
Ikyoor (the shell of a snail): this is hung on the neck of the virgin to show or symbolize her virginity. It could only be removed by the appropriate man that married her after a consummation of marriage. The removal of this can be technical called “sagh akoor” in Tiv (Gbenda, 199).
HIV/AIDS: Human Immuno Deficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defense system. AIDS, on the other hand, stands for acquired immuno deficiency syndrome. This is a syndrome caused by the virus called HIV. (www.avert.org>home>information-on-HIV>aboutHIV&AIDS.hmtl