The project work “The advent of Christianity to tiv land and its
influence on church growth” traces the origin of Christianity in Tiv
land, its impact and progress to the church in Tiv land. The project is
carried out by primary sources, which an interview conducted by Zungwe
Deborah, Rev. Prof. Ahaneku Anjou was interviewed on 23-06-2016 and Rev.
Peter Azuara at Mkar-Gboko, Benue State of Nigeria. The project also
adopted secondary sources by using books. In the research carried out,
we discovered that, missionaries brought Christianity as far as 19th
century with education, agriculture, gospel, medicine, thereby
developing our land. But to some people, much was not done by the
missionaries rather cause worst to Tiv society. Some with the opinion
that, the mission did their best by giving education which is the key to
success and most of the missionaries died and were buried in Tiv land
for this cause of the gospel. I thereby say that, the missionaries did
more good than harm. Therefore, more research should be carried out on
this topic for more understanding.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY IN NIGERIA;
This project focuses on the arrival of Christianity to Tiv land, also
how Christianity came to Nigeria in the 15th Century through
Augustinian and Capuchin Monks from Portugal to Benin and Warri. In 19th
Century most Missionaries arrived in other parts of Africa, Roman
Catholics and Anglicans. In 1842, the Church of England was established
in Badagry by Townsend. In 1846, Samuel Ajayi Crowther an Ethnic Yoruba
and former slave was elected Bishop of Nigeria and the first Black
Bishop of Anglican Communion, Lagos, which became a Diocese of its own
in 1919(Erivwo 1979). In 1857, the Christianity spread to Jebba People,
and the EtSU of Bida was converted to Christianity. The Missionaries to
Nigeria established Christianity in Onisha, Bonny became the
Headquarters. In 1889, Christianity spread to Hausa land, establishing a
Mission in Zaria in 1902.
In 1930, other Missionary bodies like the Wesleyans had occupied different part of Nigeria. BENUE STATE IN PERSPECTIVE (2003).
On April, 1911, Christianity (NKST ‘’acronym’’ meaning Nongo U Kristu
Hen Sudan Ken Tiv),the English meaning is ‘‘The Church of Christ in
Sudan among the Tiv’’ now called ‘‘URCC’’ meaning Universal Reformed
Christian Church came through the Dutch Reformed Church Missions of
South Africa, under the leadership of Rev.Carl Zimmerman toJ.E. Isholibo
Sai in Sai Village in Benue State (Rubingh 1969). Few months later,
some catholic railway workers started spreading Christianity along
Makurdi side still in Benue. (BENUE STATE IN PERSPECTIVE2003).
In 1912, Missionaries were granted the permission to travel through
Tiv areas, before that time, foreigners were not allowed to enter
Tivland, because the Tiv People saw any stranger coming to their land as
threat, most especially foreigners. The Tiv land was the last area of
conquest in Nigeria to be brought under British control. But today,
Christianity grew up in all the Tiv land, Central North Nigeria known as
the Middle Belt with Schools, Hospitals, Banks, good Roads, and so on. ‘‘Tiv
view on Spiritual matters could be conceptualized under four
distinctive parts of the spirit; the concept of Aondo (God) which is the
Supreme Being,Akombo(Rituals), Tsav(witchcraft),and Ujijingi(spirits).
Ujijijngi includes Adzor’’.This is because it is on this that the entire traditional religious sect among the Tiv are embedded.
Aondo is the high God, the Creator. Aondo has
personality, and He can be angry and expresses his anger even today in
his roar of thunder and in spitting out the storms.
Akombo rites was made to communicates to God when
men could not reach God because of the pestle a woman struck against God
while pounding yam in her Mortal, God(Aondo) became angry and left man. Therefore Akimbo (Ritual) was used to communicated with God from a far.
Tsav-witchcraft; Tiv people believes that, people
can turn to some animals or objects to commit evil, such as kill, run
people mad, destroy destines and so, and after committing such evil
transform back to human being. This can be done using Tsav.
Ujijingi- spirits are also known as Adzor, these spirits have cult were they dwell and also move around. Those spirits could be good or bad. The Adzor Cult was believed to have helped others such as in healing, blessing or fighting for others.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The problem this project hopes to solves is the issue of the coming
or Advent of Christianity and its influence in Tivland, that is, how
Christianity entered Tivland,who were the persons that brought
Christianity and what important has it given to Tiv people? Has
Christianity added or reduced the Tiv people values?
The Tiv people were known as united group, in unity of power,
language, in human and the Tar may be seen in the early practice of
preserving the excrement of leaders who left the tribal area when the
time came to go back to his Tar, the leader carried his excrement with
him and threw it away at home (tar) but it’s not so today. (Rubingh
Tiv people do things in common, love, care and were united together,
this is one of the reason Islam could not penetrate Tiv land, with their
oneness said no to Islam and Islam faded away in Tivland accept now.
In Tiv contemporary Society, there is ‘‘no’’ such unity, now that we
have Christianity that can even make the unity stronger, instead, we are
1.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This research work seeks to know the origin of Christianity in the land.
To know how the Tiv people reacted to the arrival of Christianity when they already had their traditional Religion.
To know the influence of Christianity to Tivland.
To know if Christianity is real growing in Tiv.
To know if Christians are not united among themselves in Tivland.
1.4. JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY
The interviews and reviewed of books carried out by me indicates
that, Christianity actually came to Tivland at Sai now Katsina-Ala Local
Government of Benue State in 1911 by missionaries, with Education,
Agriculture, Medicine and Bible. These things mentioned are tools for
development. But some persons are still with the opinion that, the
Missionaries could not do the best they should, rather, contributed to
problems we are having today, well, I can say that, Missionaries gave
their best by giving their to die for the gospel, let us continue where
they stopped and make it greater by sacrificing and giving out our love
1.5. SCOPE OF STUDY
This project focuses on the Origin of Christianity in the Tiv land,
reaction of Tiv people to Christianity, and also influence on Church
growth in Tivland.
The study has adopted the following methods for the research work; it
includes primary sources by using oral interviews, conducted by Zungwe
Deborah. The persons interviewed were; Rev. Prof. Anjov Ahenakaa,
Department of Philosophy And Religions, Benue State University Makurdi
and also Seminary School Mkar on 23 June, 2016. And Rev. Peter Azuana.
The General Secretary “NKST” “Nongo U Kristu U i Ser U Sha” meaning
Universal Reformed Church Headquarters Mkar on 25th June, 2016. And also
secondary sources such as consulting
project ,data collection and so on for a better research.
1.7. RELEVANCE OF STUDY
This research work is relevant in the following ways:
It serves as a source of reference Book.
It serves as research material.
It relevant to Churches (to gain more Knowledge).
It is a sense of History.
Lack of Books for research Purposes.
Insecurity, most people are not open to people even their community because of evil society.
The dead of my Daddy while in Mkar-Gboko for the first day of the oral interview.
1.9. DEFINATION OF TERMS
Advent means coming or arrival, first appearance.
Advent is from a Latin word ‘‘Adventus’’ meaning Arrival.
Advent also means a season observed in many Western Christian
Churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the
celebration of nativity of Jesus at Christmas.
Latin Adventus is the translation of Greek word parousia commonly used to refer to the second coming for Christians.
Advent means the coming of an important event, person, invention, and so on.
But in this context, Advent is the coming of Christianity.
Christianity is a ‘‘Monotheistic religion’’ based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament.
Christianity is the World’s largest religion with over 2.4 billion adherent known as Christians.
Christianity is based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and
the teaching of inspired Apostles and Evangelist as recorded in Acts of
the Apostles in the Holy Bible.(Nnaji 2009:3).
Tiv has a dual meaning, is a name of group of people in Benue State
and the name of the Father of all Tiv People. But in this context, Tiv, a
group of people in Benue State, Middle Belt of Nigeria. (Makar 1994:4).
Tiv originated from Bantu in Congo to the South East and inside
Cameroom, settled on Hills located a few miles South-East of Obudu,
Akiga located Swem Karagbe hill (1969:62), finally settled in Benue
The Tiv bordered to the East by the Hausa-speaking, Mada, Jukum,and
Chamba to the North by the Alago and Akwe to the West by the Idoma and
South by theUdam.
Tivland stretches from approximately 60 to 300 North and from 80 to
100 East Longitude.Tiv also lived on both Banks of the Benue River about
150 miles from its Confluence with the Niger. (Rubingh 1969:62)
Influence means the power to have an effect on People or things that is able to do
Influence means to affect or change how someone or something
develops, behaves or thinks. (Cambridge advanced learners dictionary and
Influence in Spanish is called ‘‘Influencia’’.
Influence is the capacity or power of person or thing to be a compelling force on or produce effect on the actions or behavior.
The word Church is in Greek language and in New Testament is
‘‘Ekklesia’’ which means a ‘‘calling out’’ especially a religious
congregation or an assembly (Strong exhaustive concordance 1677).
The word Church designates the body of believers of which Jesus Christ is the head, Colossians 1:18.
Church is a group of people called out for a special purpose by God.
Literally, Church is a building that human beings worship in that the understanding of a layman.
Growth is referred to as a positive change in size or maturation often over a period of time.
Growth can occur as a stage of Maturation or a process toward fullness or fulfillment.
It can also perpetuate endlessness, for example, as detailed by some theories of the ultimate fate of the universe.
Growth can also be referring as the mode of growth, example, and
numeric models for describing how much a particular quantity grows over
time (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia).
The Tiv traditional Religion calls God or god Aondo meaning the
Supreme Being. When the Missionaries brought Christianity, they further
adopted the name Aondo for the Supreme Being.Tiv contemporary Society
calls small gods now Mbaaonda while the Supreme God (Aondo).
This chapter reviews Literature on the subject matter from works of
some pioneer Authors or scholars whom have written directly or
indirectly to throw light in aiding researchers understands what others
wrote on the research Topic.
The views of the scholars gave a good understanding of the “Advent of
Christianity in Tivland, other parts of African and its influence for
Church growth and the benefits of Christianity.
2.2 THE ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY IN TIVLAND.
Christianity in Tivland is 105years old now, in 2011, the Church
clocked 100years. Dr karl kumm a German who had a vision for
Christianity in Africa as he saw Islam advancing South into Africa,
felt there was need to established Christian church throughout Africa,
South of the Sahara desert called “Sudan”.
The awakening gave rise to the formation of mission Societies. They
include: the Baptist Mission 1792,the London Missionary Society 1795 and
the Church Missionary Society(Anglican) better known as CMS1799.Other
Mission Societies were: Dutch Reformed Missionary Society(DRCM).
Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (WMMS); Scottish Presbyterian
Missionary Society (SPMS) among others. The coming together of
Missionaries for the advent of Christianity to Nigeria most especially
Tivland.(centenary celebration Brochure2011:12).
In 1901, Kumm founded the Sudan pioneer Mission which in 1904 became the Sudan united Mission.
In 1904, Kumm led the first part of four persons, himself included, to the North Nigeria; settle in the town of Wase.
In 1908, some missionaries including Rev. Botha, Mr.Hosking, Dr.Kumm
left Liverpool for Nigeria. At their leaving, they settled to come
Tivland. Dr. Kumm was even of the opinion that a station be opened at
Udei a village along the Benue River. On arriving Nigeria they were
overtaken by events and the idea of coming to Tivland was jettisoned.
They decided to settle at a village called Mbula.
In 1910, Mr. Botha wrote in a letter that, though they nearly worked a
year with Mbula tribe they still do not have a grip on the people;
although they are gaining more influence and the confidence through
means of the Medical work. The breakthrough in Medical work was because a
man with a broken arm was cured, so people were rushing not necessary
to receive the gospel but to be treated of their physical ailments. A
decision was therefore taken on leave Mbula to Ibi. (Centenary
celebration Brochure 2011:12).
Rev. Carl Zimmerman of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRCM) of South
Africa who first came at Sai on April 17, 1911 at 10.ooam. There is an
Eye-witness account given by Akiga Sai and Rev J.E.I. Sai, who were
among the people when missionary came. (Avan 2011:1), (Benue State in
Perspective 2003:212). (Robert and Udende 2009:3), (Palmer 1996:52, 53),
The most an important person in the History of Tiv Church was Mr.
Sai, the Father of one of the first four Tiv Pastors Rev. J.E.I. Sai.
This man whose village was name after him was instrumental in accepting
Missionaries to work in his land and other Tiv areas. (Hopkins and Gaiya
2005:90). Mr. Zimmerman requested from Sai a Child to help him in
mission work, Akiga was chosen by Sai among his children with the
intension that, let Akiga be wasted, already he was the least among his
Children because Akiga one eye could not see well. Also had ulcer on one
of foots, so, Sai decided to give him away.Akiga proved to be a gift
blessed with intelligence and became the first Tiv man to be Educated
and baptized as a Christian.
The South Africans settled in “Salatu”,Casaleggio points out
that,this was mispronunciation of the Tiv expression Saa i utu,meaning
“matters of the night”. Sai is the name of a place .It was a Tiv
homestead and its respected Father Mr. Sai, allowed the Missionaries to
settle there, one of his Sons J.E.I. Sai was among the first four men to
be ordained into the Tiv Church. (Edgar 1972:30).
According to them the missionary had four boxes. These as follows:
One Box was containing a Bible-The Word of God.
Another Box was containing Medicine-Medical or health work.
One contains books-Education.
Another one was containing Seeds of various plants, Agriculture, (Avan 2011:1).
The Church started 1911 but spreading fast was a little delayed
because the British Colonial were afraid of the Tivland, according to
them, the Tivs were warriors, therefore, preaching the Gospel into
Villages was stones, only along the Road from Wukari to Takum.After
sometimes, Mr. Carl Zimmerman gained ground by using Medicine for
healing through goodness and won the hearts of the Tivs, hereby change
his base because sai was extremity in the Eastern side if Tivland.
In January 12,1912, one of his Sai’s sons Akiga sai proclaimed or
confessed Christ as his savior, another of sai’s son J.E.I sai became
the first ordained pastor and also very important in the Tiv Church. On
the 19th of March 1912, Hosking and Zimmerman left for South Africa,
while Judd stayed behind at Sai. To Zimmerman this was the end of his
work in this area; others had to continue where he stopped. Rev Botha
and Brink went to Sai to explore ways of erecting a building for
personnel.And the Lord opened the way for them to penetrate the whole of
Tivland East of the Katsina-Ala River. Flemming and Hosking took off
six weeks to explore the area they visited among other places,Zaki-Biam
and Katsina-Ala.By this time Judd was perfecting his language study and
in 1914 he wrote the first Tiv reader. That same year, the first
Christian, Adamu was baptized in Tivland. Adamu was not a Tiv man
though his baptism was in Tivland. Guinter of Wukari baptized him by
immersion. (Centenary Celebration Brochure 2011:13).
In 1913 and 1935, seven new mission station were established, such
as, Sai -1911,Zaki-Biam-1914,Sevav-1920,Mkar-1923,
Adikpo-1923,Kunav-1923,Turan(Jato-Aka)-1926, in addition Mkar which was
established in 1923and became the headquarter of the (DRCM) work, Sai
station was closed in 1926.(Avan 2011:3.4).
January 9, 1957, was the birth date of autonomous Tiv Church, Nongo
Kristu U sudan Hen Tiv(NKST) now URCC-Universal Reformed Christian
Church. The Missionaries official handed over to the indigenous Pastors
and Rev Nevkav Anum Eho was among the first four ordained Pastors in
Tivland and was made the first Chairman of N.K.S.T. The other three
Ministers were Rev.Shinyi Ugo, Rev.J.E.I Sai, and Rev.Varem Ayaka.
Dr. Karl Zimmerman
2.3. A Talk Given to the Nigeria Staff of the Mennonite
Central Committee August 14, 1980. Christianity in Northern Nigeria:
Origin and Problems. www.socialtheology.com.
To understand the Advent Christianity in Northern Nigeria (NN), one
must return back first to 19th Century Great Britain and look at the
relationship between Laissez-Faire Capitalism and Evangelicals. The
Great Britain had become the leading industrial Nation of the world
under the guidance of Laissez-Faire capitalism.
The Capitalism was very individualistic; everyone was urged to do his
own economic thing. The purpose of the business was first of all to
make a profit and also competition-oriented.
Evangelicals were very much part of it all. They believed in the
above doctrines as God inspired, though they rejected the evolutionist
interpretation of the origin of creation and man but adhere to an
evolutionistic interpretation of History without recognizing the common
source behind the two. Our every Square inch, vol.2, pp.210-211
The social economic structure of Great Britain changed under the
impact of industrial Revolution, raw materials for production became a
problem, and therefore, Great Britain needed a way to solve the problem,
so, Great Britain entered Nigeria, that was the basic impulse of
Colonialism, it was for them produce these two, raw materials and Market
,the Great Britain interest were represented by a number of Companies
especially by the Royal Niger Company that was later taken over by Lever
In the beginning Nigerians were abused and used when the Britain
needed Nigerians, they trained them, when it was in their favor to
eliminate them, they would freely do so. By 1960, Nigeria Economic was
totally in foreign hands.
The Evangelicals in Great Britain were wholly in favor of their
domestic Capitalist economy because they themselves had done well under
it, so they expected of colonialism Livingstone inspired many
Evangelicals, at the very time the attention of British business was
down to Northern Nigeria. It begins slowly with the southern Baptists
leading the pack in 1855 to be followed by Anglican Church missionary
Society and Wesleyans around the 1880s.But towards the end of the
century new attempts were made that were eventually to morph into
Churches that are now blossoming in Northern Nigeria Anglicans, Sudan
interior mission, ECWA, Sudan United Mission, TEKAN, and Southern
The Sudan United Mission (SUM) was a Conglomeration or umbrella of
different Mission Societies whose Missionaries came from all the
Caucasian dominated Nation of the common wealth as well as the USA. It
included my own Mission, the Christian Reformed Church (SUM/CRC) that
eventually partnered with three different denominations.2Boer, 1979,
pp.85-85, 1984, pp32-33.
2.4. History of Christianity in Nigeria:
‘In 1485, the Portuguese Missionaries were the first to visit
Nigeria .The Oba of Benin sent an appeal overseas that some Missionaries
be sent to his Kingdom, some Spanish and Italian Capuchins also visited
Benin .Being Catholics they were able to convert the Oba and his royal
family. Also some Missionaries of the sacred Congregation of propaganda
in Rome came to Benin and Warrin. In Warri the Olu and his Sons were
baptized .He later sent his son Domingos to Portugal for studies. In
Benin and Warri many people were converted, Churches were built and
Christian worship was actively promoted’. (Dauda andGbule: 60).
In 1771-1806, the course of the Niger River had been discovered by
Mungo Park and other explorers, it was know that this River held the
vast and populous area. A come together commercial and philanthropic
objectives for the introduction of European Civilization on the Niger
In 1840, was the Niger expedition promoted by Buxton. Although the
first voyage was not successful, subsequent voyage opened the Niger area
to Philanthropic efforts and inspired subsequent endeavors in other
parts of the continent in later years, such as the Africans Lakes
Company in the Lake Nyasa region and the East African Scottish
Industrial Mission in Kenya. (Falk 1997:123,124).
In 1841, Samuel Ajayi Crowther took part in the Niger expedition aimed at Christianizing the people if Nigeria. (Nnaji 2009:28).
The Portuguese main interest was in Commerce, thus, Commerce,
Christianity and Colonialism combined to achieve missionary activities
In 1842, some liberated Slaves had become Christian in Sierra Leone
who pleaded with the CMS to starts missionary activity in Yoruba land.
The Slaves were as five hundred freed Nigeria origins that came back
from Freetown to Badagry, Lagos and Abeokuta. And also September 1842,
Methodist Church volunteered and sent T.B Freeman to visit the people at
Badagry and Abeokuta, William De Graft a Methodist Missionary was made
responsible for the Ministry of Badagry and Abeokuta too.(Falk
1997:126),(Fleck 2013:44),(Rubingh1969:47). Henry Townsend founded a
(CMS) residence mission at Abeokuta 1846, extended to some parts of
Yoruba land like Lagos 1852, Ibadan 1853 and Oyo 1856.(Benue State in
Perspective 2003:209),(Dauda and Gbule 2000:67).
In 1844, Townsend came back to Abeokuta with C.A.Gollmer, his wife
and Samuel Crowther to commence a Ministry in Abeokuta, Shodeke, chief
of Abeokuta died in. After his death, Dahomey took the Egba post on the
route to Badagry, he closed transportation between Abeokuta and the
port, the Church Missionary Society concentrated its efforts at Abeokuta
while the Methodist Mission worked at Badagry.Shodeke favorable
attitude opened Yoruba Country to Missionary work at a time when Dahomey
rejected Missions. (Falk 1997:126).
In 1846, the Church Missionary Society and the Methodist Missionary
began Ministry on the Niger River and inland from Lagos, the United
Presbyterian Church of Scotland began a Mission in Calabar to East of
Lagos. In 1847, the Society made important literary contribution, Hugh
Goldie, who arrived Calabar compiled a dictionary of the Efik. (Falk
1997) .In 1853, A.C. Mann began a work at Ijaye and also Bowen returned
with his bride and two other couple.However, upon arriving at Abeokuta,
they contacted Malaria. The J.L. Lacy were incapacitate and sent home,
and the J.S. Dennards both die within a year. (Falk1997:129). In that
same year, Samuel Ajayi Crowther landed at Badagry.
There was a trial to found Mission stations in Niger during the
second expedition of 1854, which Crowther was a member of the crew under
the leadership of Rev J.C.Taylor an Ibo Liberated Slave who was
ordained by the CMS in Sierra Leone.
The CMS missionaries to Nigeria founded Christianity in Onitsha,
Bonny became the Headquarters, and some stations were also opened up in
Niger and Lokoja, now Kogi State.
In 1841, a man name Samuel Ajayi Crowther took part in the Niger expedition aimed at Christianizing the people of Nigeria.
He was ordained in England as a minister of the Gospel and sent back
to Freetown to evangelize his own people in 1843.The Church Missionary
Society (CMS) then sent him to work as a Missionary in Nigeria. He
started his Missionary Exploits first, among his own people, the
Samuel Ajayi Crowther landed at Badagry with a team of other
Missionaries. He first went to Abeokuta and joined a European Missionary
Henry Townsend and wife who had set up a school for the CMS at
Abeokuta. They teamed up a converted many people to the Christian faith.
At Badagry and Abeokuta, they labored for the numerical growth of the
In 1853, he (Samuel Ajayi Crowther) left Abeokuta for Ibadan on
another Missionary work. He worked hard with David Hinderer and co who
was sent as European Missionaries. He was very much encouraged to meet
this couple and they worked hard to win many converts to Christianity.
Samuel Ajayi Crowther took part in another Niger Expedition in
1857.This Expedition nearly cost his life because their boat had almost
drowned but God delivered them through the locals. In spite of this
threat, he persevered and carried the gospel to the people of Jebba and
met with the EtSU of Bida to convert him to Christianity.
In 1864, he was consecrated the first Bishop and Pioneer Missionary
of the Anglican Church in Nigeria. As a Bishop, he took up the
responsibility of overseeing the clergy and the Catechists, as well as
the growing Churches and the converts, through his missionary
activities. The CMS spread further to the South. Church Missionary
Society schools like D.M.G.S saint. Augustine’s Grammar school Nkwerre,
saint. Marks T.T.C Nise, Awka, and WTC Umuahia to mention a few started
by the Missionary.
In 1876, the intrepid Mary Slessor arrived Calabar and through a
Missionary was appointed vice-consul by the Government which saw in her
the only means or gaining cooperation with the people. The tie of
temporal and spiritual authority was not unnatural to the African, and
the attempts of Missionaries to separate the two at great pains have not
impressed the African to his day (Rubingh 1969:48). In 1880, the CMS
could count eleven stations and a thousand adherents, from Badagry,
Abeokuta and Calabar, the Missions pressed inland.
By 1891,the CSM reached Isikwe-Achi, Oji River-Enugu State from where
it spread to neighboring towns like
and Calabar and so on.
Bishop Ajayi Crowther spent his time and efforts to translate the
whole Bible to Yoruba Language to enable his people understand God’s
word. Before his death in Lagos on 31st Dec, 1891, he had left a
landmark for his generation in Nigeria and Nation. (Nnaji p.28-29).
By 1889, they penetrated Hausa land; founding a mission in Zaria
1902.in 1930 other missionary bodies like the Roman Catholic Mission
(RCM), the Baptist Church of Scotland and Wesleyans had occupied
different parts of Nigeria.