Saturday, 23 September 2017

Another look at Prostitution Among Tiv Girls


By Iorkyaa Lohodedoo

Prostitution is one among the ethical troubling waters that predates contemporary times. Howbeit, prostitution can equally be said to an act that has never received warm or worthy commendation by and sundry cultures in Nigeria. Ironically, despite the frantic efforts done by parents, guardians in the build up of Young and teenage girls, the amount and number of recorded cases of prostitution seem to be growing and increasingly progressing at a jet-speed.

Particularly among the Tiv people of the North Central Nigeria, virginity as enshrined in the people's code of ethics and value systems is a product of virtue and also an expression of the child's cultured and high-standard of parental upbringing. This goes without saying that the mother of a disvirgined girl is usually absahed (with a poferated wrapper) by her in-laws given that the wife(her daughter) is found disvirgined hitherto the day of her marriage. As the Tiv believe that Virginity can only be lost or broken through sexual intercourse. Thus, it reveals of the girl's waywardness. Bearing this thought as it is deeply buries in the sub-conscioisness of every parent(especially female) she would stop at nothing and do everything humanly possible in ensuring that the child or children's virginity is restored and kept sacred timely to her marriage. The above clearly explains in plain and precise words the stern stance and how abhoring prostitution and sex before sex is percieved among the Tiv people.

Perhaps, most recently, prostitution appears to be commonly identifiable among the Tiv people and is arguably progressing at its unfiltered and unfettered rate. This has undoubtedly attracted and drawn the concern of many to the possible causes and solution. Today the indulgence of some Tiv girls in the act of proatotution has covered quite a wide appeal. They are commonly seen across the major cities in Nigeria to.mention, Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and more alike. It is common knowledge to deduce that while some of the said prostitutes deceitfully tell their parents, guardians or relatives they wish to go out to the city and "huzzle" even without genuine credentials others purposefully sojourn to engage in commercial sex business. As it is prevalent today, the majority of Tiv girls within the ages of 18-22 seen in most of these big cities are vulnerable agents of commercial sex activities. In most cases it has been uncovered that unhealthy competition and the get-rich syndrome are usually the driven and motivational factors that lured most ladies into the practice of this disdainful and libellious business.

Phew! They are in most cases easy to identify because the majority are made up of those who migrated from interior rural areas(villages) where most of the established schools therein use the native language(Tiv) in the dissemination of knowledge during class sessions. Thus, the adverse effect of this, is always bearing in their lives because they are build with poor use of English and communication skills. To this effect, their proficiency in the use of English becomes unappealingly poor and many are easily identified due to their inadequacy and difficulty in spoken English. In other instances, like birds of the same feathers flock together, once they found themselves in a strange land, they easily get entangled with each other so as to strike up a synergy.

On the possible reasons why some Tiv girls now engage in commercial sex business, possible reasons can be itemized thus:

1. Poverty Like many other states in Nigeria, Benue state is plagued and heaped in the problem of poor and bad political.leadership and unfair distribution of scarce resources, lack of established industries, redundancy in workforce and the ever growing number of.moribund industries are all factors that have impoverished the state. Granted the hard and harsh living conditions in the face of the fall and flux of economic activities and how shameful it is for her to engage in commercial sex business within her known area of jurisdiction or place of origin, the perpetuators of this dastard act would prefer to migrate to far distant land where the population of.people that may know her will be considerably little or .minimal. This will ennoble her cause as it will also make her more comfortable and at ease to settle for.business.

2 Pressure from peer / age group It is tenable that some Tiv girls caught in the business of prostitution today is evident and a result of the pressure visited them by their peer group. Ordinarily there are ladies who would not dare prostitution granted they are not griped by the fear and risk of loosing a friend(s) who they behold in high esteem and who may have been supportive to them. Thus, they are exposed to the dilemma of whether to choose the road less taken or risk plummet of.lossing some.dear friends.
Considerably as it is evident in most cases, the ethics of loosing such friend may not be a good alternative or choice to.make. Thus, they become lured into it.

3. Stigmatization and feeling of rejection The moment the lady begin to edge towards the marriage age (ie between 24-30) without a suitor readily waiting or available to seek or ask for her in marriage she begins to develop such feeling of rejection and feel stigmatized. For her, it may appear as the beginning of her doom days. It is always a period in the life of most ladies when they become desperate and ae willing to undertake any risk or task in order to satisfy their emotional, sexual and financial desires. At this point, prostitution may stand out as the best arbiter.

4. Lack of appreciable skills Because of low financial earnings and income even though some parents may have the thought of their children to be educated or liberated their shoestring budget could hardly afford them the opportunity of the children to be enrolled in schools/ any other formal institution of.learning. The children are nurtured into petty forms of trading and apparently dependent and when they take home cannot take them.home, they begin to seek.for alternative ways and most available now lead them into prostitution.

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