By 1963, there were indications of rising tension among the various conflicting groups in Tivland.

In 1964, there was an outbreak of violence leading to the destruction of lives and property. The immediate cause of the 1964 riots arose from the attempt by the
government to force the Tiv to pay a riot damage fine of N5.10 per head. The said amount was to be paid in addition to the general annual tax of N4.50. Thus, in that year, a tax payer was expected to pay N9.60. This amount was to be paid within three weeks in default of which he would be sent to prison for six months.
The imposition of this arbitrary taxation caused so much frustration and resentment among Tiv people. A good number of people felt that this riot damage fine was not only vindictive but oppressive.

Tiv people

Matters came to a head on 12 February 1964 with the killing of Gbargbar Apinega, the clan head of Mbalagh, and three other persons the same day.

The killing of Gbargbar in his compound developed into full scale violence between NPC and UMBC supporters. In order to bring the situation under control, a detachment of the Nigeria police was quickly drafted to the riot scene.

On their way, however, an armed gang ambushed them. In the ensuing incident, six Nigeria policemen were reported killed and several seriously wounded, others were reported missing.

Lord Lugard

As in the 1960 riots, the violence quickly spread to other parts of the division. Before the disturbances could be contained, they had spread to most clans in Tivland including Buruku, Udei, Ugba, Sevav and Zaki-Biam.

Those targeted for attack by the rioters were persons in authority the clan and kindred heads, tax collectors, court presidents and police. In several areas, policemen were ambushed and killed or wounded.

On whole, a total of twelve policemen were officially confirmed dead. Several others were reported missing. Unofficial estimates put the number of people killed at between 2,000 and 4,000 with several hundreds wounded. It was the heavy presence of soldiers that ultimately led to the restoration of peace in Tivland.