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  • 30 Aug 2016
    THE CONCEPT OF PULAAKU MIRROREDIN FULFULDE PROVERBS OF THE GOMBE DIALECT   Rudolf Leger and Abubakar B. Mohammad Introduction The paper gives a brief history of the Fulçe people who are found all overWest and Central Africa. Since no study of a people is complete without mentioning their language, the paper also gives a very brief account of Fulfulde, the language of the Fulçe people. However, the central focus of the paper is the concept of pulaaku, thatunique attribute of the Fulçe that serves as an unwritten code of conduct for all ‘true’ Fulçe. Pulaaku is Fulçe’s guiding principle in their dealings with their fellow Fulçe as well as with all other people.   Rather than talk about pulaaku in isolation, however, the paper tries to mirror it through Fulfulde proverbs. Coded or loaded messages called wise-sayings or proverbs are widely used in all languages. Fulfulde is particularly rich in this, which is why the paper explores this reservoir of knowledge in trying to portray the rich culture of the Fulçe people. The corpus of proverbs from which the selected proverbs come, was compiled in and around Gombe with the help of Mallam Bappayo Bappa Yerima Djibril.Since the Fulçe are easily the most dispersed people in Africa, no singlestudy can do real justice to all of them. This is why this study narrows itsscope to cover just the Fulçe of Gombe area of the northeastern of Nigeria. The Fulçe: A brief history The area covered by the Benue-Gongola-Chad Basin has been rightly described as “a zone of ethnic and linguistic compression”, owing to the convergence of various peoples into the area from times immemorial(JUNGRAITHMAYR & LEGER, 1993:165). A relatively recent migration into this region, however, took place in the eighteenth and the beginning of the last century (HOGBEN & KIRK-GREENE 1966:429f.). This was the period of Fulçe incursion into the heart of the Hausaland and Borno. They subsequently spread to as far as Gombe and Yola and even further into the Cameroon (TEMPLE 1919/1965:398). This peaceful incursion was interrupted in 1804 when, under the leadership of Usman Ãan Fodiyo, the Fulçe of Sokoto revolted against the Chief of Gobir. A ‘Jihad’ was then declared by the Fulçe and their Muslim supporters, which succeeded in overthrowing the traditional overlords throughout the Hausaland and beyond. The ‘Jihad’ had very farreaching consequences, which not only affected religious movements, but also political, economic and intellectual factors were involved. It also had a great impact on the linguistic situation and ethnic structures of the autochthonous people living there. The Fulçe themselves were perhaps the most affected.Whilst the ‘Cattle Fulçe’ had remained much as they were, the ‘Town Fulçe’ found themselves in positions of power and responsibility. Some of them became Emirs, District Chiefs, Village Heads and wealthy private individuals.The importance of language to the culture of a people has compelled us to include the Fulfulde language in our study. This is in addition to paying a closer attention to their complex ways of life - their ethics, beliefs and cultural behaviour. It is believed that a ruling class is always highly regarded within a multiethnic and multicultural society. Consequently, the ethnic group, to which the ruling class belongs, is often imitated or even copied by the other groups out of respect and admiration.   The Fulçe and their language. The Fulçe, whose population can roughly be estimated at 10 to 15 millionspeakers (cf. GOTTSCHLIGG 1992:1, 24 million now 2007) are found scattered over the whole of West and Central Africa up to the shores of the Red Sea. The original homeland of the Fulçe is believed to have been the middle Senegal River valley and the adjacent Futa Toro Savannah (ARMSTRONG 1978:9; MURDOCK 1959:413-414). From there in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Fulçe began their great migration towards the south and east, whereby today the fringes of their Diaspora lie in southern Mauritania, in the west to as far east as the Sudan(ARNOTT 1970:1). The classification of their language, Fulfulde, was a controversial subject. Many contradictory theories have been propounded, three ofwhich can be summarised as follows (ABU-MANGA 1986:3). • Fulfulde is a (pre-) Hamitic or Semito-Hamitic language, whose nominalclass system developed under strong influences of (West-)African languages (MEINHOF 1911:18f., 1912:2, 14f.; MUKAROVSKY 1980:125f.).• Fulfulde is a (Hamito-)Semitic language, which shares genetic origins with Arabic and Hebrew (ENGESTRÖM 1954:21). • Fulfulde is a West African language, belonging to the West Atlantic group of the Niger-Kordofanian language family (GREENBERG 1963:28). This is the most recognised and popular classification. An even more complex question than that of its classification concerns the different dialects of Fulfulde, whose distinctive features have only been partially described (cf. LEGER 1998:323f.) Based on ARNOTT (1970:3) and GOTTSCHLIGG (1992:50), six main dialect areas can be distinguished:   1.Futa Tooro (Senegal), 2. Futa Jaloo (Guinea), 3. Maasina (Mali), 4. Sokoto and Western Niger, 5. ‘Central’ (northern Nigeria and eastern Niger) 6.Adamaawa.   Nevertheless ARNOTT (cf. 1970) admits that dialectal bordersoverlap and agrees that: „The demarcation of dialects is inevitably an arbitrary process, especially in view of the mobility of the nomadic Fulani“. In addition, we have to take into account the mutual borrowing between Fulfulde and its neighbouring languages, as well as the multilingualism of the majority of Fulçe. This also plays an important role when studying Fulfulde dialects. The concept of pulaaku „Pulaaku is an abstract noun formed from the root ‘ful-‘ from which are other terms (like): Pullo, Fulçe (a Fulani, Fulanis), Fulfulde (the language, Fula), and pulaade (to act like a Fulani) are also derived.“ (RIESMAN 1977:127). pulaaku therefore means „the qualities appropriate to a Fulani“ (cf. RIESMAN 1977:127).                                                                                                                                          Abu Manga (not published) describes pulaaku with all its ideals as „the cornerstone of the Fulani culture“ and cites a proverb in which dignity,one of the highest aspects of pulaaku, is illustrated: NeÃÃaaku Ãum nebbam to rufi çoftataako“ (‘Dignity is like oil, once split it cannot be redeemed’). However, by far the most comprehensive definition of pulaaku is given inVEREECKE (1986:98) „Pulaaku specifies the actual rules or guidelines for appropriate behaviour and presentation of self, as well as a series of virtues and personal attributes, which may be viewed as rewards for behaving like a Pullo.“ In other words, pulaaku ‘is a Fulbe-exclusive marker.’ Although the concept of pulaaku is a universal one, common to all Fulçe wherever they may be, the extent of its use by the Fulçe varies from one dialectal area to another or, indeed, from one person to another, depending on his exposure, or lack of it, to non-Fulçe values and influences.As a matter of fact, some aspects of pulaaku have proved to be inimical to social interaction. For example, a Pullo would rather remain hungry than partake freely in food and drinks at a party. More serious still is when the fear of losing one’s pulaaku stops a Pullo from sending his children to school to acquire Western education. This has tended to make the Fulçe very conservative in their general worldview.There are many different aspects of pulaaku. If a person displays any ofthem he will be regarded as a Pullo or be liken to one. VEREECKE (1986: 98), for instance, reports that up to 15 components of pulaaku were identified in a study they undertook. Naturally, these components vary considerably in their occurrence and applicability. This is to say that it is rare, if not impossible, for any one individual Pullo to display all of them.However, for the purpose of this paper, only five of the most prominentcomponents of pulaaku will be discussed. Each of them will be illustrated by two or more appropriate Fulfulde proverbs. This is followed by a brief explanation of each of the proverbs. Some of the Fulfulde proverbs that mirror pulaaku. Collins English Dictionary defines a proverb as „a short memorable, and often highly condensed saying, embodying, especially with bold imagery, some commonplace facts of experience’. Every language has its own proverbs that are peculiar to it, and Fulfulde is no exception. For the purpose of this study, a careful selection of those Fulfulde proverbs that best exemplify the concept of pulaaku has been made. Semteende This is by far the most important component of pulaaku. It is also the most easily noticed; but not so easy to define. Its literal meaning is ‘shamefulness’.However, such terms as ‘being reserved’ or ‘shy’ will be less pejorative. It is expected of a true Pullo to display this characteristic. Among the proverbs that best depict semteende are the following: a. Torii heçii maa noye hakko toroo heçaayi?(To be granted one’s request is shameful enough, let alone when the request is turned down.) To the Pullo, it is very degrading to beg or request for something from someone. It is much more honourable for him to suppress such an urge no matter how pressing it might be. This is one of the attributes that may be harmful to the Pullo since it makes him keep to himself in a socially undesirable isolation. The most positive aspect of the concept of ‘semteendé’ is that it teacheshumility and self-denial. A Pullo who displays it will never be boastful andselfish.b. To honnduko nyaamii gite boo semta.(If the mouth has eaten, then the mouth must feel ashamed (expresses only gratitude).This proverb advises people who receive favours from someone that theyshould show deference as a sign of gratitude. It is absolutely necessary for one to openly display his pleasure and gratitude in return for favours and kindness received.c. Koo moye dura Ãi yeeso muuÃum. (Let everyone take care of what is in front of him.)This proverb is saying that one should mind one’s business and not to poke one’s nose into other people’s business. Most people do not take it kindly when they are given unsolicited advice. This is why a Pullo, in order to avoid being told off, tries to mind his own business. Munyal This can be interpreted to mean patience, tolerance or perseverance. It is expected of a Pullo to display this quality. Some of the proverbs that best depictMunyal include the following:a. No ndiyam luggiri fuu woodi njaareendi(No matter how deep a body of water is, there is fine sand at the bottom.)The proverb teaches us that whatever difficulty we may face, there will be relief in the end, if only we persevere. It is expected of a Pullo to display a high degree of perseverance. He must not always expect quick results or easy solutions to problems. "It was reported that once a Pullo came across a group of people surrounding a dead body near a river. By way of commiserating with the people, he asked what the cause of the death was. He was drowned in the river because he did not know how to swim. That was the reply. Why didn’t he go round the river? So asked the Pullo. How long do you think that would take? replied the people. How long will it take him to lie here? Said the Pullo."This short anecdote testifies not only to the Pullo’s witticism but also to his tremendous capacity for perseverance. b. Goonga hiiÃay hiddeko ko jaçee.(The truth will become old before people accept it.) The proverb is warning us not to expect people to readily accept the truth. It takes them a long time before they realise what it is. So, be prepared to give them time! The need for patience is therefore of paramount importance. c. Uumaaka çurii mbolwaaka.(What is groaned about surpasses what is spoken about.) When seemingly healthy people groan, it is a sign that they are carrying the burden of what worries them. In other words, there is more than meets the eyes, as it were. This also means that complaining and grumbling about an issue does not always help matters.EnÃam The meaning of this aspect of pulaaku is being kind and affectionate, especially to one’s own relations or kindred. The proverbs that depict enÃam include:a. Ko meemi kine fuu meemii gite.(Whatever affects the nose, affects the eyes also.) This proverb teaches us that whatever affects one’s family members or close friends also affects one. So, one rejoices with them when they are happy and commiserates with them when they are sad. In short, it teaches us to be humane, compassionate and to have flow-feeling. b. KoÃo Ãum ndiyam ndoggoojam.(A visitor is like run-off water.)This proverb is calling on us to be kind to our guests because they are as transient as the run-off water. It is therefore advisable to be much as nice to thembas possible while they are still with us. Ngorgu The literal meaning of ngorgu is ‘manliness’. It also means bravery. Theproverbs that depict ngorgu include the following:a. GiÃÃo çokkon colli doole yaaça gi’e.(He who goes after birds’ nests must be prepared to tread on thorns.) The proverb makes it clear that one has to labour first before one enjoys the fruits of one’s labour. In other words, ‘duty first before pleasure’, as the saying goes. b. Sollaare teppere çurii nde pooçe. (The dust on the heels is better than the one on the buttocks.) This proverb is saying that when you are on your feet it is the heels that become dusty; but if you are sitting down, it is the buttocks that become dusty.The message, therefore, is one must not be lazy, but be up and doing. NeÃÃaaku The meaning of neÃÃaaku is dignity or self-respect. The proverbs that best depict this aspect of pulaaku include:a. Nyaami haaraayi, çiiri haaray na?(If after eating, one is not full, will licking the bowl make one full?)This proverb admonishes against doing something that is beneath one’sdignity. According to Fulçe custom, grown ups and children do not normally eat from the same bowl. The grown ups must not eat all the food in their bowl; they must leave something for the children. This is referred to as çiirol or ‘licking’. b. Ndikka toraaki e wujjuki. (It is better to beg than to steal.)To a Pullo, begging is too lowering. However, if a choice is to be made, naturally, begging is far more honourable and, needless to say, legal. Conclusion A paper as short as this cannot do full justice to the concept pulaaku, no matter how much one tries to condense it. Neither can justice be done to Fulfulde proverbs for exactly the same reason. The corpus of Fulfulde proverbs is such that volumes could be written out of it, if that were the intention. However, it is our sincere belief that, if nothing else, the paper has succeeded in whetting the appetite of those interested in Fulçe studies generally, and in pulaaku and Fulçe proverbs, in particular. References. ABU-MANAGA, A.-A. (1986): Fulfulde in the Sudan: Process of Adaptation to Arabic. Berlin.ABU-MANGA, A.-A. (no date): The concept of ‘woman’ in Fulani narratives. Unpublished paper, read at the First Annual Congress of Nigerian Folklore Society Sept. 27th – 30th 1981 in Kano. ARMSTRONG, R.G. 1978: Development of Fulani Studies: A linguist’s view. In: H.Jungraithmayr (ed.), Struktur und Wandel afrikanischer Sprachen. S. 7-89.Berlin. ARNOTT, D.W. (1970): The Nominal and Verbal Systems of Fula. Oxford.ENGESTRÖM, T. (1954): Apport à la théorie des origines du peuple et de la langue peulhe. Stockholm. GOTTSCHLIGG, P. (1992): Verbale Valenz und Kasus im Ful. Wien.GREENBERG, J.H. (1963): Languages of Africa. The Hague.HOGBEN, S.J. and A.H.M. KIRK-GREENE (1966): The Emirates of Northern Nigeria– A Preliminary Survey of their Historical Traditions. London.JUNGRAITHMAYR, H. and R. LEGER (1993): The Benue-Gongola-Chad Basin – Zone of ethnic and linguistic compression. Berichte des Sonderforschungsbereichs 268, Bd. 2, S. 161-172. Frankfurt am Main.LEGER, R. (1997): Tongue Twisters in Gombe Fulfulde. In: R. Leger (ed.), FulfuldeStudien – Fula Studies, Frankfurter Afrikanistische Blätter 9, S. 79-86.LEGER, R. (1998): Noun Classes in Fulfulde: The ‘Pulaar’ of Guinea and the ‘Fulfulde’ of Sudan. In: V. Vydrine et A. Kibrik (éd.), La Langue,L’Afrique, Les Peuls. Recucil d’articles dédiés a Antonina Koval, p. 323-334. St. Petersbourg – Moscou.MEINHOF, C. (1911): Das Ful in seiner Bedeutung für die Sprachen der Hamiten,Semiten und Bantu. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 65, p.177-220. MEINHOF, C. (1912): Die Sprache der Hamiten. Hamburg.MUKAROVSKY, H. (1980): Contribution à l’histoire des langues peul, sérèr et wolof.Itinérances I, p. 13-149. MURDOCK, G.P. (1959): Africa, its Peoples and their Culture History. New York.RIESMAN, P. (1977): Freedom in Fulani Social Life. Chicago.TEMPLE, C.L. (ed.) (1919, 1922, 1965): Notes on the Tribes, Provinces, Emirates and States of the Northern Provinces of Nigeria. Compiled from Official Reports by O. Temple – Liverpool. VEREECKE, C. (1986): pulaaku: Ethnic Identity Among the Adamawa Fulbe. Annals of Bornu III.
    16828 Posted by Mahammad A. Tafida
  • 27 May 2016
    A GLANCE AT LAMIBE (Emirs) MURI - by Misa Njidda 2007 PREFACE This piece, A glance at Lamibe Muri, is deliberately intended to briefly educate the reader on the times and genealogy of the Hammaruwa Kingdom, known today as the Muri Emirate. The scope of the work is narrowly focused on the appointments and succession of the twelve (12) Emirs that ruled Muri since its inception as a Kingdom in 1817. It will also enable the reader to know the 3rd class chiefs under the 21st Century in Muri. It is hoped that the simple structure of the contents will equip those of us who are not students of History with an idea of the genealogy of Lamibe Muri. I am indeed grateful to those whose work has helped in the production of this booklet. I am particularly indebted to Professor Abubakar Sa’ad the author of “Lamibe of Fombina” and “papers on Nigeria History”, A.H.M kirk-Greene the author of “Adamawa past and present” and also the 12th Emir of Muri; HRH Abbas Njidda Tafida whose leadership acumen, action and philosophies since ascension to the throne has greatly inspired me to produce this booklet. Finally, but by no means the least, my profound gratitude goes to Alhaji Sa’adu Abubakar (Late Wazirin Muri), Malama Hauwa Yerima Sanda, Professor Ahmed Usman Jalingo, Alhaji Abdullahi Wamban Muri, Late Malam Hamasani Kona, Late Barayan Muri, Justice Isa Mangaji, Late Patrick Noma Jen, Dr. Abbas Bashir Mafindi, Galadima Muri, Alhaji Tukur Abba Tukur as well as the Secretary to Muri Emirate Council, Alhaji Saidu Usman Gassol and my noble family and friends for their valuable inspiration and support. Misa Njidda Jan. 2007 BRIEF HISTORY OF LAMIBE MURI 1817 – 2006 Known in the 9th century as Hammanruwa Kingdom, the Emirate of Muri was founded in 1817 during the revolutionary movement of the Jihadist – Usman b. Fodio. Muri Emirate lies on both sides of the River Benue in North-eastern part of Nigeria with it’s modern day Headquarters at Jalingo, the capital city of Taraba State. The 1926 reorganization of Northern Nigeria provinces mapped the Muri province with it’s territorial control extended to Ibi, Wase and Shendam areas. The Muri Emirate has had a total of 12 Emirs inclusive of the Millennium ruler Alhaji Abbas Tafida Njidda. MODIBBO HAMMARUWA (1817 – 1833) Modibbo Hammaruwa, who was a younger brother to Lamido Buba Yero of Gombe and Lamido Hammadu of Tibati ( Now in Cameroun Republic), was the founder and first ruler who settled in Muri town situated on the Northern bank of River Benue presently in Karim-Lamido L.G.A of Taraba State. Lamido Hammaruwa had as at 1817 conquered the greater part of today’s Muri Emirate except Wase and Bakundi. He played great role during the Jihad of Usman Danfodio (1817 - 18) leading to the spread of Islam . He ruled for 17 years and died at Gombe in 1833.   LAMIDO IBRAHIM b. HAMMARUWA (1833 – 1848) Lamido Ibrahim B. Hammaruwa succeeded his father Lamido Hammaruwa and ruled from 1833 – 1848. At about 1836, he developed a psychological problem until 1848 when he became insane and was deposed and succeeded by his elder brother Hamman b. Hammaruwa.   LAMIDO HAMMAN b. HAMMARUWA (1848 – 1861) Lamido Hamman’s reign was characterized by internal wrangling involving his son Burba and his Nephew Hammadu, the son of the founder of Gassol, Bose. Lamido Hamman’s reign witnessed the conquering of Jibu by one of his Commanders called Kuso while Aliyu and Bula founded settlements in present day Bantaje and Ibi in 1885. He ruled for 13 years and was deposed in 1861 and later died at Mayo-Ranewo town of Ardo-kola L.G.A, Taraba State.   LAMIDO HAMMADU b. BOSE b. HAMMARUWA (1861 – 1869) Hammadu, the son of Bose who died in 1833 along with his father Modibbo Hammaruwa at Gombe, was popularly chosen from Gassol as successor to the deposed Lamido Hamman in 1861. He lived part of his time in Muri but moving to Gassol, Sendirde and Wuriyo towns where he appointed his sons to administer the towns, while his eldest son Umaru Sanda took charge of Muri at his absence. It was at this time that, Hammadu’s cousin and an old rival, Burba went further South wards and founded Bakundi. Lamido Hammadu b. Bose ruled for 8 years and died in 1869.   LAMIDO BURBA b. HAMMAN (1869 – 1873) On receiving the news on the death of Lamido Hammadu, the Caliphate in Sokoto directed that Abubakar, the son of Hammaruwa should be appointed Emir, but Muri people rejected him and instead appointed the rebellious Burba. Lamido Burba, the son of Lamido Hamman (1848-1861) was chosen from Bakundi by the Muri people. To consolidate his power, Burba had to grapple with the threat of Lamido Hammadu’s three sons (from Gassol, Sendirde and Wuryo) who had come to Muri town as claimants of the throne. However, four years later (1873), Gassol once again revolted and before Burba could punish them, he developed a mental problem and was deposed in 1873. When he regain soundness later, he then returned to his old home at Bakundi and remained as an independent ruler paying direct tribute to Sokoto before his death in 1892. Burba ruled Muri for four years (1869-1873)...   LAMIDO BAKARI b. HAMMARUWA (1873 – 1874) Bakari (Abubakar) who was earlier (1869) nominated by the Sultan of Sokoto but rejected by the Fulbe Muri in favor of Burba was appointed to succeed his Nephew in 1873 as the sixth Lamido of Muri. Lamido Bakari ruled for seven months and died. He was succeeded by his son, Muhammadu Nya in 1874.   LAMIDO MUHAMMADU NYA b. BAKARI (1874 – 1896) Muhammadu Nya popularly known as Lamido Jatau succeeded his father to become the seventh Emir of Muri in 1874. On assumption to the throne, he established friendliness with his deposed cousin Burba of Bakundi and together they combined forces to ensure proper control of Lamdo Hammadu’s sons in Gassol. Lamido Jatau was the one who signed the first treaty with the Europeans i.e. National African Company (Formerly Royal Niger Company) in 1893. apart from being the longest reigned Emir (22 years) of the 19th century Muri, Lamido Jatau had in early 1893 moved the Emirate headquarters to Jalingo (a town that had triumph) which was initially called Sangere (War Camp). Lamido Jatau died at Jalingo in June 1896 and was succeeded by his eldest son Hassan.   LAMIDO HASSAN b. MUHAMMADU NYA (1897 – 1903) After the death of Lamido Jatau, the Emirate witnessed minor succession problem in that, while the army and the Karaga “supported Hassan (eldest Son), the Fulbe preferred Hamman Mafindi. However, when the then Ajiyan Muri, Njidda, threw his weight behind Hassan , the problem was resolved and Hassan become the eight Lamido of Muri. Lamido Hassan then moved to Jalingo from Mutum-Biyu, where he had settled in 1895 and was formally investitured by the Sultan in September 1897. it was during his reign that Muri was declared (1901) part of the British Protectorate of Northern Nigeria after that of Sokoto (1900), by the British High Commissioner, Fredrick D. Lugard. Lamido Hassan died at Jalingo in 1903 and was succeeded by his brother Hamman Mafindi.   LAMIDO HAMMAN MAFINDI b. MUHAMMADU NYA (1903 – 1953) Hamman Mafindi who was the Tafidan Muri succeeded his brother Hassan b. Muhammadu Nya in 1903. After the death of Hassan, Mafindi moved to Jalingo from Mbanga where, he stayed after the political asylum granted him by Lamido Zubairu of Fombina (Yola). Traditional has it that he sat in silent prayers in the middle of the Mosque, conspicuous to all but conversing with none, until the council members became so anxious about the act and appointed him to the throne and was later installed at Lau. After about seven years (1903-1910) of ruler ship, Mafindi moved the Emirate headquarters from Lau to Mutum Biyu and appointed his eldest son, Madu as Danburam to oversee Jalingo District. Lamido Mafindi’s time saw the expansion of commercial activities and education (establishment of the First Primary School (Muhammadu Nya) in 1926), external relations, discipline and the reorganization and or creation of more districts e.g. the transfer of Sansani District to Gassol from Ibi Division in 1912. in addition to being the longest serving ruler (1903-53) of the 20th Century Muri, he was also the first to receive the C.B.E (1931) and C.M.G. (1946) awards for his notable services as recognized by the Colonial Masters.He died and was succeeded by his younger brother Muhammadu Tukur in 1953.   LAMIDO MUHAMMADU TUKUR b. NYA (1953 –1965) Tukur who was the district head of Wurkum (Karim Lamido) since inception, succeeded his brother, Mafindi, to become the tenth Emir in 1953. He introduced certain reforms and projects aimed at developing Muri. Lamido Tukur’s time saw the era of politics in which indigenes of Muri Secured representatives positions and appointments in the Regional and Central Government of Nigeria. He has worked towards building on what his predecessor has founded particularly in commerce and education. The first general hospital (now Federal Medical Centre), Jalingo was establish during his tutelage of Muri in 1963. LAMIDO UMARU ABBA b. MUHAMMADU TUKUR MFR (1965 – 1986) After the death of Tukur, his son who was then Parliamentary Minister in the Northern Nigeria Government of Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna Sokoto) was appointed as the eleventh Emir of Muri in 1965. His time saw the establishment of more schools, hospitals, commercial activities, the creation of Local Government within the Emirate and upgrading of same to first class status in 1983, as well as the attainment for the first time of a governor by an indigene of Muri (Gov. A. Barde of Gongola State) in 1979. He was also awarded order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Federal Government of Nigeria for his notable services. Lamido Umaru Abba was deposed in 1986. LAMIDO ABBAS b. TAFIDA NJIDDA MAFINDI (1988 – DATE) Lamido Abbas succeeded his uncle, Lamido Umaru Abba Tukur, 2 years after the latter’s deposition (1986) by Governor Yohanna Madaki of then Gongola State. Lamido Abbas is then grandson of Lamido Mafindi (9th Emir of Muri), son of Lamido Nya (Jatau) the founder of Jalingo. Abbas Tafida’s reign is one of the most remarkable among those of his predecessors in that he had stayed on the throne without the official installation for 18 yeas (1988 – 2006). Lamido Abbas reign has so far witnessed great achievements in Muri e.g creation of Taraba State with Headquarters in Jalingo, creation of more L.G.As within Muri, establishment of more schools (e.g. Centre for Excellence, Jalingo), support for orphans and widows, expansion of commercial activities and agriculture as well as youth empowerment through vocational skills acquisition and scholarship awards program. He has also being educating the people of Muri on public health particularly HIV/AIDS and National program on immunization. Lamido Abbas Tafida was born in 1953 at Jalingo. He attended Mohammadu Nya Primary School, Jalingo from 1961 – 67 after which he proceeded to the famous Government College Keffi and later A.B.U. Zaria where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business Admin. In 1977. He had also attended a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Management at the African Dev. Bank, Abidjan (1981 – 82) and Post Graduate Diploma in Chain Management at Green Beheld Smith and Co., London (1982 – 83). Alhaji Abbas Attended his National Service (NYSC) with the Kwara State Government (1977 – 1978) after which he joined Lever Brothers Nigeria. Ltd. (1978 - 1979). He also worked with the New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) 1979 – 1983 and was appointed Managing Director of Nigeria Hotels (1983 – 1988) from where he was appointed the 12th Emir of Muri on 12th July, 1988. Lamido Abbas Tafida who is being installed (Thursday 25th January, 2006) is a man of principle and doughty philosophy that made him admired by his people. Above all, Lamido Abbas is well versed in Islamic Theology that made him place the fear of God first, in his dealings with people and in all endeavors.   PICTURES OF EMIRS AND CHIEFS The 3rd Class Chief of Muri Emirate The following are former district of Muri Emirate which were upgraded to Chiefdom s (3rd class) by the Governor Jolly T. Nyame reforms on Chieftaincy in Taraba State, 2006. Chiefdom 3rd Class Chief 1. Bakundi HRH Muhammadu Gidado Misa 2. Dakka HRH Yusuf Manga Ganwari 3. Gassol HRH Idris Yakubu Chiroma 4. Kwajji HRH Buba Nyala 5. Lau HRH Abubakar Umar Danburam 6. Mummuye HRH Ado Adamu Mazang 7. Mutum-Biyu HRH Suleiman Duna 8. Old Muri HRH Abdullahi Chiroma 9. Wurkum HRH Abubakar Haruna Karim FOR THE RECORDS 1.Zing Chiefdom which was formally under Muri Emirate has in 2006 been upgraded to 1st Class Chief and the name of the ruler is His Royal Highness Alhaji Abbas Ibrahim Sambo. 2. There are a total of 7 LGAs under today’s Muri Emirate viz:-Ardo-kola, Bali, Gassol, Jalingo, Karim-lamido,. Lau and Yorro LGAs. 3. Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim Malle was the Wakilin Muri (1986-1988) after the deposition of lamido Umaru Abba Tukur. 4. His Highness Alh. Nuhu Moh’d Bello (Sarkin Sansani – Gassol) and Hammadu Doubeli (Jauro Doubeli – Lau) are the oldest serving village heads having being appointed by Lamido Muhammadu Mafindi in 1952. 5. The renown Professor of History, Abubakar Sa’ad who is the first Professor, Ambassador, in Muri, and is the son of former Wazirin Muri (Waziri Sa’adu Abubakar). He is also the author of Lamibe of Fombina. 6. The resolution of Taraba State Government to officially install (staff of office) His Royal Highness Alhaji Abbas Njidda Tafida was pronounced during a an Id-el-ftr Sallah Durba at Kofar-Bai on 31st Dec., 2006. 7. The first Executive Governor of Taraba State (Jolly T. Nyame) is a native of Muri Emirate. 8. Lamido Abbas Njidda Tafida was appointed on 12th July,1988 by Governor David Jang (Military) of the defunct Gongola state. 9. The late Lamido Umaru Abba Tukur was the first person to be appointed a cabinet Minister in the history of Muri Emirate. 10. The first formal school in Muri is the Mohammadu Nya Primary School, Jalingo (founded 1926). 11. The first females to be enrolled in Western Schooling system in Muri was Hajiya Hauwa Umar Yerima, Titi Makenzi, Hajiya Hurera Danburam and Hajiya Adamajam Yerima. They were enrolled at Mohammadu Nya Primary School Jalingo in 1940. >> FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND ADVISE: Please contact the AUTHOR on  
    2143 Posted by Mahammad A. Tafida
  • 27 Aug 2016
      I found this document online about fulfulde ajami  i had to share it this is topic i enjoy reading about. Alphabet and Orthography StatementFor Fulfulde [FUB] Ajamiya(Found in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic)By Scott Clark, MASILB.P. 1299Yaoundé, Cameroon2007   Alphabet and Orthography Statement For Fulfulde [FUB] AjamiyaBy Scott Clark, M.A.Language: Fulfulde [Ethnologue code: FUB](Spoken in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic)Introduction:The alphabet described in this document is the result of many years of research, which began in the early 1960’s by Dr. Kristian Skulberg of Norway (in Ngaoundéré, Cameroon). Ron Nelson and the Sawtu Linjiila staff (a Fulfulde media and radio organization) continued his work in the 1980’s. By 1990, the orthography was well established. The orthography in the present statement has not significantly changed since that time. In 1998, at the JCMWA/MICCAO conference in Ngaoundéré, Cameroon; over 100 representatives from 14 West African countries agreed that this orthography would be a good standard for writing the Fulfulde language with Arabic script (called Ajamiya).One of the first Roman script orthographies for Fulfulde was developed by F.W. Taylor in the 1930’s (see his dictionary, 1932). In 1966, a unified Roman script orthography was recommended by UNESCO at the ‘Meeting of Experts for the Unification of Alphabets of the National Languages’ held atBamako, Mali. The orthography proposed in this paper is based on the phonology statement forAdamawa Fulfulde [FUB] found in Stennis, 1967.In 2002 a computer program was developed by Mark Rogalski and myself to “transliterate” the Roman script Fulfulde into Ajamiya script Fulfulde. It is still not 100% accurate and needs to be proofread for mistakes. The following Alphabet and Orthography Statement is presented in order to make the most accurate transliteration possible while maintaining as much as possible indigenous  Ajamiya conventions of the [FUB] Fulfulde dialect (abbreviations are on page 18).The Consonants:(The vowels will be introduced on page 14)Arabic alphabetical order (Abjadi) is adopted here showing the Ajamiya grapheme, Fulfulde name andphoneme1: أ -aliifi [a:] ب,bee [a], ت -tee [t]  ث, camamlu [],  ج ,jiimi [dz]  ح  -haa baaluul [h], خha to'b'bungol,د -deeli [c], - ذ zaali [] ر ,arre [], ز -zayra [y], س -siini [s], ش -ciini [s]or[]or[ts],  ص- saadi [s], -  ض baadi [d],  ظ zaadi [], ع –ayni kebuwal [],غangani kebuwal , ف fee [fe],  ق -gaafu [],  ك -keefu [k], ل- laamu [l],  م-miimi [m],  ن-nuunu][n],- ھhakabeere [h],  و-waawu [w],  ي-yah [j],  ء-hamaza [] -- ِIn addition, five Non-Arabic phonemes are found in Fulfulde; the symbols chosen to represent these sounds are: بء bee mod'u,يءyah mod'u,ف.pee,نغ nunu e angani. These  five characters are still under discussion. However, they have been used with good understanding for the lasttwenty years in Cameroon, with the exception of the p. The p has been recently adopted after a thoroughsearch of the contemporary use of Ajamiya in Northern Cameroon (see Orthography Report of SpecialLetters, March 2006 by myself). Several Arabic sounds and their corresponding consonants are NOT used in1See Appendix 1 for the chart of these letters in Abajada order (Warsh Qur’anic tradition). See Appendix 2 for the SummaryChart that is in Arabic Alphabetic order (Abjadi order). MORE information
    2077 Posted by Mahammad A. Tafida
  • 30 Jul 2016
    Pulaaku among the Fula   By    Dr. Aliyu Tilde   This is the second article on Fulani and their problems in Nigeria. We have sufficiently focussed on language in the previous article last week. Today, we will look at an attribute with which the Fulani are distinguished. It is a feature that is eroding in Nigeria, on one hand as fast as life is becoming difficult for its citizens, and on the other, as gradual as the ruler becomes encapsulated by the norms and adulterations of sedentary life.   We will start with its meaning, then its examples, origins and benefits. Finally we have offered a prescription on how it will be maintained among those who still practice it sufficiently and how those who lost it could recover it.   Meaning   The single feature that cuts across the behaviour of the Fula is what he and others call pulaaku. It is the altruism ((Hausa: kara) that makes him consider the interest of others first, before his. It is also the shyness (Hausa: kunya) that prevents him from enjoying what is lawful like gifts, or prevents him from publicly showing his attachment and concern to a beloved one. It is also the endurance (Hausa: juriya) that enables him to withstand pains and difficulties silently, without complaining. It is also the caution and pride that makes him to avoid anything ignoble and degrading.   Seen from the above perspective, it is difficult to understand why some people would like to see pulaaku as limited to the Fulani. I will rather consider it as one of those traits common to human cultures. All civilizations, if we have the freedom to discount capitalism, consider self-sacrifice praiseworthy, and selfishness blameworthy. All revealed religions preach pulaaku in many of its forms.   In one place, the Medinite companions of the Holy Prophet received the migrant Meccans to their city after the Hijrah with a selflessness that earned them a divine praise. God described them as people who “prefer (the fugitives) above themselves though poverty become their lot. And whoso is saved from his own avarice, such are they who are successful.” (59:8). The Meccan migrants who were deprived of their possessions, on the other hand, were praised with the pulaaku of endurance when God said: “the unthinking man accounteth them wealthy because of their restraint. Thou shalt know them by their mark: they do not beg of men with importunity…” (2:273). The Holy Prophet, the epitome of good conduct, shied from expressing his annoyance over the offensive conduct of others towards him: “…Lo. That would cause annoyance to the Prophet, and he would be shy of (asking) you (to go); but God is not shy of the truth.” (22:53) In one of his traditions he was reported saying, “if it does not make you ashamed, do whatever you like.” This tradition supports our assertion that pulaaku, in decrying the ignoble, is a universal human attribute.   Having established that pulaaku, in many respects at least, is not is not restricted to the Fulani, I am now comfortable to hold that the Fula differ from others because he has taken pulaaku a degree, or degrees as someone would claim, higher than how others did. It is the medium of his conduct, and the substratum on which it is anchored. To the Fula, absence of pulaaku defiles the noble of his dignity and its presence could earn a slave the respect of his master.   Examples   Pulaaku, in its simple form, expects a woman not to mention the name of her husband or that of her first child. In case of the first son, both parents, but especially the mother, are expected to ignore him throughout his life. In extreme cases mothers shy from saving their children from risks, including fire or drowning! (I won’t go that far). Parents with sufficient pulaaku will find it difficult to side with their children or relations in case of misunderstanding with others. Pulaaku demands utmost privacy in habits of eating, drinking, sleeping and intercourse. A friend from Dukku once told me how his grandfather used to eat in hiding, so secretly that none of his wives ever saw him eating throughout his life. A Gobir trader (bagobiri) once rebuked me for refusing to be served with Coke outside his shop, along Waff Road, Kaduna. He said: “Ku filani kun ramma mutane”, meaning, “you Fulani have an inferior impression about others.” I explained to him how I have always obeyed this form of pulaaku, until when I decided to break it one day in Abuja, thinking that I was away enough from home. It was not long after I started taking a snack outside a restaurant that I heard an approaching voice saluting me. I raised my head and found, to my utmost shame, that it was a brother to my father in-law. The bagobiri laughed, saying, “And so what if your in-law saw you eating?” He just could not understand why.   The Fula will abhor whatever is discerned as shameful in the society. Lack of remorse is considered as antithesis of pulaaku. In times of deprivation, it is shameful to ask anyone, including his relations. Begging is taboo. As one of his proverbs signifies: there is enough shame when a request is granted; where it is not, the shame cannot be described. If you would ask him, as a guest in your house: “Do you mind some food?”, no matter his condition, he will certainly reply with a smile, saying, “mi haari.” (I am okay).   If he will receive a gift (he does reluctantly and sometimes only to avoid embarrassing the donor), he will add, “hai! torra non?” (What! Why suffer so much?). Thereafter, even if he is a child, he will hurriedly disappear, because he feels ashamed to receive something from someone. He must be seen to be self-sufficient. That is why, a child is stopped from visiting a house where he will be given gifts. He must also not eat from another house. The adult would usually boycott, wherever possible, people who offer him gifts. He concurs with al Motanabbi who held that generosity buys the noble but encourages the poor-minded to rebel.   Pulaaku demands resilience. Enough of it is expressed in the annual festival that is called sharo in Hausaland. There, the Fula will bare his chest to be beaten by any challenger in the crowd. As the fresh stick of the attacker awfully tears his skin apart to expose his flesh before the viewing public, he neutralises the sympathy of his spectators with beautiful smiles and cheerful jubilation. Many times, hit on one side of the chest, he will challenge his opponent further by turning the other side. He will retire from the occasion to prepare for a hurtful revenge the following week.   While some cultures celebrate the proof of their daughter’s virginity the morning following her first intercourse as a bride, Pulaaku demands that the Fula to conceal even her pregnancy, especially the first one, until it is impossible to do so any longer. And when she comes to deliver a child, she must do so quietly. Even a sick child should not complain of pain by crying. This is where an Arab will shout, wa musibataaaa, or wailiiii, or yaa naass, yaa khooooy… and the Hausa will cry, “wayyoooo Allah…” There are no such words in fulfulde, at all.   The dying should also bid farewell to the world quietly. The loss of anything, a son or a property, should not warrant the slightest discomfiture. A mother is denied the tears that would sooth her eyes from the pain caused by the death of her child or husband, no matter the attachment she had for him. On such occasion, the Persian will be piercing his head with a knife; and the Arab will throw dust over his head and cry, “ya khasrataaaa...”   I think the point has sufficiently been made, given these illustrations, that few cultures, if any, as we said before, will be ready to take their pulaaku to this extent.   Origin   We may be tempted to ascribe pulaaku to religion, since all religions preach endurance, self-denial and so on. What a convenience! If it were so, we will expect to find a strong correlation between pulaaku and the religiosity of the individual Fula. On the contrary, pulaaku is also practiced impressively by those naturalis who care very little about religion. It is therefore safer to see it as a purely cultural trait among the Fula, which Islam has in some instances condemned or tolerated, and encouraged in most others. It is like the tradition of generosity among pre-Islamic Arabs, which I remember the author of Meccan Crucible was able to trace back to their Jahiliyya customs.   I will argue that pulaaku, to the extent that the Fula practises it, is a habit that was cultivated or rather derived from his nomadic life. The features of pulaaku are the most deficient properties in modern technological societies. Thus the more traditional a society is, at least in the Powelian paradigm of social science, the more will its culture be characterised by generosity, hospitality, selflessness, and so on. Conversely, the more advanced a society is technologically, the lesser will it be characterised by such traditional values.   This argument is more plausible in capitalist societies due to the enormous social pressures that their exploitative mode of production provokes. In traditional societies however, the means of production and distribution are simple: resources are readily supplied by nature and require little processing or marketing before they are consumed.   The nomadic state of the Fula, in other words, is what generally granted him the liberty of selflessness. Their farming system permits self-sufficiency, extensively using shifting cultivation and mixed farming. Their close marital practice produce unified communities whose members are closely related. Under such circumstance, sacrifice becomes easier, if not natural.   It is now easy to understand why the Fula, over a long period, is stripped of his pulaaku anytime he settles to face the harsh realities of urban life. If his abundance remains, like where he maintains a large herd of cattle, the likelihood of his pulaaku remaining is higher. But if he has to capture his livelihood from amidst the thick air of competition, like through contracts and marketing, then he will soon realize that pulaaku will be a detriment to his survival above the margin of poverty. He would also learn to save his small hard-earned resources for himself because there is none who will come to his aid, as any other person is trying to work out his own survival arithmetic. In the absence of his cattle, farm, fruits, rivers and space, over generations, preference to self becomes irresistible, if not inevitable.   The courage component of the Fula’s pulaaku can easily be traced to the necessity of self-defence in his nomadic state. This is a habit he shares with other cultures that grew under conditions of seclusion. The Arabs were equally courageous, until when they learnt how to enjoy the sanctuary of sedentary life and to indulge in the luxuries of the nations they conquered. Today, they cannot raise even a finger against Israel, in protest to the atrocities it is committing against their Palestinian brothers.   Benefits   From a utilitarian perspective, what benefit has the Fula derived from his Pulaaku? The benefits, I believe, are many but we will restrict ourselves here to three. One, internally, it ensures peaceful coexistence among members of the genus. With pulaaku, there is a good understanding among the members of the genus as to the standard pattern of their behaviour. It is the normative law. Also, by restraining the self from eyeing the property of others, pulaaku has helped to demobilize the greatest precursor to quarrels – the struggle to acquire what belongs to others.   Two, externally, pulaaku has made it easier for the Fula to be accepted by other people. Without it, his nomadic life would have been difficult. Here he differs from other nomads. The Jew, for example, is mainly preoccupied with how to acquire what belongs to others. If he has ninety-nine sheep, he will plan to snatch the only sheep belonging to his brother. Greed is the hallmark of Jewish trade and a fundamental article of his association with others. On the contrary, pulaaku asserts self-sufficiency that is achieved and maintained through honourable means. Where deprivation visits the Fula, he is expected to overcome it without revealing his secrets to others. He would rather die than beg. With this self-pride, others found him a guest enough light to accommodate easily, and who does not pose much threat to their possessions. Men will remain amiable, according to Machiavelli, so long as they do not show interest in the wealth and women of others.   Thirdly, the Fula demesticus has found pulaaku important in his leadership role. In the various parts he settled in West Africa, apart from farming, he has also engaged in scholarship and administration. Pulaaku is necessary to both professions. To become a good leader, self-sacrifice and trust are indispensable qualities. To be a formidable scholar, self-denial is necessary. And pulaaku supplies the Fula with both habits in abundance. He thus finds the commandments of Islam regarding these matters easy to follow. This might have contributed to the acceptance of Shehu Danfodio in Hausaland. The caliphate that he established enjoyed the respect of the people as long as the leadership was ready to live by those qualities. How long they did so is a question that only historians can best answer.   Erosion   Unfortunately, this fundamental identity of the Fula, much of which is praiseworthy, is fast becoming eroded in the genus. Among the Fula domesticus, very little of it is left; and even among the naturalis, it is increasingly becoming difficult to sustain. The selflessness of Fula leaders is falling far short of the measure of pulaaku. They have put their interest and that of their children first, and failed to attend to the problems of their subjects. They loot the treasury as much as others do; the difference between them, except in few cases, is marginal. The misconduct of some of their daughters, especially some of those brought up in the GRAs and who have become bereft of shame and shyness, is enough to make their grandparents in the villages faint or go berserk.   The present habits of many naturalis is not better than that of his doemesticus brother. They are also finding it difficult to keep trust. Some of them run away with cattle that others kept in their custody. Some are involved in petty habits like theft. Worst is what we have been learning for the past five years about their participation in armed robbery and banditry. Do not mention alcohol and other vices. I remember a goge artiste who used to perform in our village on market days. One of his songs was: “Karyar wade-wade ta kare ga dan Fulani na sai da giya”, meaning, “pulaaku is finished since we have a Fulani selling alcohol.” I wonder what he would say today, were he alive.   These are the reasons why I strongly hold the view that pulaaku is endangered. Its decline among the Fula when the country needs it most to overcome predicaments triggered by avarice is deeply lamentable.   Solution   It is difficult to practice all the ramifications of pulaaku in the present world of political boundaries – local and international – that exacerbate poverty by limiting movement and restricting the economic choices of the individual; of growing predominance of capitalism and its values; and finally, of acculturation through western education. Fighting against these factors is like standing in the way of a flood.   Nevertheless, we must know that facing the flood is better and more honourable than drowning in it. It will take the capitalist societies to nowhere. Such societies will sooner or later revert or their civilization will perish, for no civilization lasts by living on bizarre exploitation and unguarded avarice like theirs.   My prescription is a simple pill. In a struggle between civilizations, like in fighting against a flood, it is wiser to hold on to a firm support. I am referring to systems that are more enduring, that are held at higher esteem and that possess higher values than those of traditions inherited from ancestors.   Here, Islam comes handy, to the Fula and the non-Fula alike. Fortunately, the Fula have accepted it very long ago. Therefore, it is unnecessary for them to return to the old pulaaku that was passed through ancestry. When they practice it under Islam, in obedience to God, they will be executing His commandments for which they will be rewarded in this world and in the Hereafter. It will delight many readers to note that Islam has made sufficient provisions for all the praiseworthy properties of pulaaku, and much more. A devout Muslim will flout pulaaku only in few respects, all of which are unnecessary. If he follows the traditions of the prophet, he will be able to drop the terrible and the tedious in his old definition to adopt simpler versions that will endure the aggression of external values. By this, we are most assured that the values we cherish in pulaaku will live to be inherited by our distant progenies. God said: “Lo! this Quran guideth unto that which is straightest..” (17:9) Regarding the traditions of the Prophet, they have emanated from someone described by God in the best of testimonies: “And Lo. You are of great conduct.” (68:4).   Readers, that was pulaaku. Those were the threats to its survival. And this is Islam; its best saviour against the formidable flood of urbanization and capitalism. No other system will offer the Fula a better alternative. With it, wherever we go, we do not believe that we have missed anything that is praiseworthy in our heritage. Neither will we lose touch with nature for Islam is built on nature. We feel at home.   Source : Dr Aliyu tilde
    410 Posted by Mahammad A. Tafida


Arts & Culture 249 views Oct 25, 2016
The Fulani of Northern Niger Some General Notes

This a book I found online an account of the #fulani and #fulfulde as far back as #1945 a good read for those interested it also contains #language and grammar pointers for those who want to learn.

The Fulani
of Northern Nigeria
Some General Notes by
F. W. de St Croix
Inspector of Livestock
#Veterinary Dept., Nigeria

1945 — (1437/45/550).


The Fulani

of Northern Nigeria
Some General Notes
F. W. de St #Croix
Inspector of Livestock
Veterinary Dept., Nigeria
P age
H istory ............................................................................................................ 5
egendary Or i g i n .............................................................................................. 8
h a r a c t e r ............................................................................................................ 9
ode of L iving : M i g r a t i o n ................................................................ 10
ecimation of H erds by D isease .................................................. 12
omparison between #Nomadic and Settled Fulani .. 14
ulture .. - ............................................................................................ 15
iscipline and Leadership ................................................................ 17
ontrol of Herds............................................................................................19
ovement of Cattle ..............................................................................20
attle Husbndry........................................................................................... 22
conomic Products — Dairying . . .. .. .. 27
easonal Grazing .. . . .. .. .. .. .. 30
attle-t a x ..........................................................................................................34
attle Markings and Enumeration ..................................................36
arriage Customs and Inheritance ..................................................37
ame of “ Soro ” ............................................................................................44
ames and Festivals ..............................................................................46
i e t ....................................................................................................................... 47
uperstitious Beliefs, Rites and Practices .. . . 54
ocabulary .. . . . . . . .. . . .. . . 68
1945 — (1437/45/550)

Some General Notes on the Fulani of
Northern Nigeria
THO anyone who has cared to follow up what little is known of
the history of Fulani from early times, it appears evident that there
were wide differences in status in their civilisation.
Tradition is strong that Fulani originated somewhere “ to the East ” ;
but historically it appears that early during the thirteenth century
Fulani immigrated to the Hausa states and Bornu from the West —
probably owing to some threat to their independence, demands for
tribute, or the like.
We are told of Fulani preachers of the doctrines of Islam in Bornu
and in the Hausa states. Also of a nomadic class caring only for its
herds and flocks ; holding itself strictly aloof from other races ; retaining
to the full its racial characteristics and customs : herdsmen who cared
little for religion and nothing for power ; but wholly for their livestock :
they apparently paid some small tribute to the reigning chiefs.
From the fifteenth century onwards members of the learned or
‘ aristocratic ’ class held high positions of office or rank as advisers,
imams, judges, commanders of armies, and the like, in the states of the
period, on account of their intellect. Besides this they formed states
of their own. They became a ruling class : their independence of
character appears at all times to have been acknowledged.
At this period the nomadic tribes, in their mode of living, showed a
like independent spirit; paying tribute or a grazing tax to those chiefs in
whose lands they grazed their cattle ; but owing allegiance to none, and
moving from territory to territory, at will, throughout the Western
Sudan, from the upper reaches of the Senegal River to Lake Chad.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were great numbers
of Fulani in the Hausa states and western Bornu : each chief town had a
Fulani quarter, the ruling class of Fulani having risen in position far
above the herders of cattle and sheep ; intermarried with the families of
the ruling negroid chiefs and, while retaining those Fulani characteristics
of intellect and a capacity for administration, had lost, or were losing,
their distinctive physical features and, in adopting many of the customs
of the peoples with whom they merged themselves, were losing their
own customs; the language of the country in most places replaced their
own. This became more pronounced with the religious revival which
commenced about 1804 when, in the Hausa states, the Fulani language
(Fulfulde) of the ruling class was gradually replaced by Hausa, and a
social amalgamation took place ; while, in Adamawa, intermarriage and
concubinage ‘ corrupted ’ the Fulani blood, though there was no such
merger as in the Hausa states, and the Fulani rulers did not abandon
1 his religious revival followed upon the Fulani victory in what was,
originally, a local fight for survival for all classes of the race against the
Gobirawa ; following which the Fulani leaders — men of the ‘ aristocratic ’ class — went on to exploit their success, with those people of
other races who would ally themselves to them and under their
leadership ; and developed the religious revival into a conquest of the
‘ habe ’ rulers in order to obtain power over a great area. Apart from
giving local, but yeoman, help in the initial fight for Fulani survival
against the Gobirawa, it would appear that, in the subsequent movement
to assume power and oust native rulers, the Nomadic Fulani took no
further part.
As will appear later, this mixing of the blood of the ruling classes
made even greater the gulf between them and the nomadic classes.
With both, independence and innate pride of race was, and still is,
a chief characteristic. They consider all the negroid and negro races as
inferior, ranking themselves as a red— or, as we should term it, white —
race ; negroids and negroes as black. In this connection I would note
that Europeans are referred to as ‘ wodebe ’ (singular, bodejo), the red
(brown) men. But the nomadic classes had in those days - and still
have — maintained their age-old exclusiveness, their customs and
characteristics ; remain aloof, speaking their own language, uneducated,
and retaining to a great extent the superstitious beliefs and fears which
their forefathers held before the general spread of Islam. They
describe themselves as being like birds— if one is touched, all the others
fly away — an apt comparison. Their confidence's not easily gained ;
but may be easily lost.
During the unsettled times before the coming of the British, the
Nomadic Fulani lived far from the towns in bush, usually in such large
encampments that it would need a considerable force to make a
successful raid on them : as skilled bowmen they were well able and, of
course keen, to protect their cattle.
Of the Settled Fulani, possessors in many cases of large numbers of
cattle, the owners lived within the towns. The herd was penned near
the town under the charge of a trusted slave, who had slave herdsmen
to assist him if cattle were numerous. There also the owner would send
his sons, in turn, to take part in the work until, after they had married,
some would decide to dwell in the town, others to remain on the
farmland and with' the flocks and herds. When the father died, the
eldest son would take his place in the town, as head of the family.
In the event of a cattle raid, one or more of the party were able to
escape and run to the owner with the news, whereupon he would collect
a body of men to overtake the raiding party and, where possible,
recapture the cattle. By living in the town there was the added
advantage that, although part of the family was surprised, there was
always a stronger part left to retaliate.
Then, as now, they farmed extensively, and practically all of them
kept, as they still do, a number of sheep, goats and fowls. (It may be
noted that Nomadic Fulani travel with their fowls and chickens.)
At the present time many towns have a Fulani village adjacent to
them, or Fulani camps are found grouped about at some little distance,
in their own farmlands.
As regards the relationship of the Nomadic Fulani with the rulers,
it would appear that the majority of, if not all, such tribes had, from long
ago, representatives of their own in the towns of the ruling chiefs.
It is reasonable to agree with the Fulani assumption that this representation came about in such manner as that, as a young man, a member of a
family of standing, perhaps the son of an ‘ ardo ’ (Fulani chief or
leader), would decide to give up the nomadic life for that of scholarship
and, having been given a wife, retire with her to a town. From time
to time relatives would visit and stay with him, and exchange news :
when a man of learning was required he would be called in by them.
He would be given a voluntary ‘ fee ’ for his assistance, and presents
would be given to him on various occasions. These dealings
would not go on without the knowledge of the local ruler, who would
receive his due portion from this man : moreover he would realise the
value to him of one who knew of the movements of these Nomadic
Fulani. On the other hand, it was safer for the Nomadic Fulani to
have some connection with the rulers : for one thing, it would be known
where there was any large body of cattle, and, without some such
connection, the owners would be liable to attack from any quarter, so
that, staunch fighters as they were, it would be advisable to be free at least
from the cattle-raiding parties of the ruler in whose country they grazed
their cattle, and an intermediary with the ear of the ruler would be an
Thus the scholar would in many cases become the go-between in the
ruler’s dealings with his nomadic relatives; and, in course of time, an
intermediary between the ruler and the Nomadic Fulani frequenting the
province. On entering the province for grazing, the leader of a tribe,
or section of a tribe, would inform the ruler, through the intermediary,
of his arrival and whereabouts. The nomads would escape the tax on
industries and on farms, levied on the Settled Fulani; but seasonal
presents of cattle would be made to the ruler, and his goodwill retained.
It may be noted that, even now, the truth of an important resident
Fulani chief’s estimate of the number of his own and his followers’
cattle is accepted for tax purposes.
Again, though chiefship among the Fulani is hereditary, it is liable to
the choice of the members of the clan present, in that they may reject
the eldest son of a deceased chief on account of his character, and elect a
younger brother. On account of disputes, and lest trouble should arise
later, the election of a chief might be done before the ruler, as witness,
and as supporter of the chosen man should disagreement occur
subsequently. (Election is confirmed by elder Fulani chiefs, who
then give the new chief a few words of advice on leadership.)
It became customary for the town-dwelling intermediary to follow the
nomads, who had a connection with the ruler of a certain province in the
manner described, into any other province to which they might have
migrated, in order to collect from them the tribute ‘ chofal ’, paid in
cattle. Such was the custom at the time of the British occupation,
and it was continued for the next few years in the altered form of
Cattle were given as ‘ zakat ’ (locally zakka) and, even now, some
annually take out ‘ zakat ’ as a voluntary gift to the local Imam and to
the ‘ modibbo ’ teacher of young disciples.
The relationship between the chiefs of the nomads in bush and the
important sedentary chiefs at the present day is remarked on later.
Fulani legends regarding their origin, and the origin of their language
and their cattle, vary considerably. As regards their origin, they
always speak of it as having been from the E ast: an Arab connection is
spoken of in these legends. As to the origin of their cattle, invariably
in my experience, these originated “ from a river some speak of the
Barebari — Kanuri — first having cattle, and of the Fulani acquiring
cattle from them. The various legends are well known and some of
them are in writing.
One legend of the origin of the language is that a child was born who
was not known to be a ‘ Fulani ’, since in those days there was no such
language : later another child was born to the same mother. One day,
not long after the younger child had been born, the mother went out to
wash herself. The younger child started to cry during her absence,
and while the mother was approaching the home on her return, she
heard the elder child comforting the younger in words that she did not
understand ; but which were understood by the younger child ; “ Jeda,
inna ma wartai ” (“ Be quiet, your mother will come back ”). She
called another, who also could make nothing of these words. Both
children grew up speaking this — Fulani language; but they also
understood the language of their mother. And this is the origin
of the Fulani.
As to the Fulani acquisition of cattle from the Barebari, the same
narrator says that it was foretold that certa:'n riches would appear from
out of the water : these riches were cattie : the S rati’en (Barebari) first
obtained them : later two Fulani entered among them. These two
withdrew to a place some distance away and lighted a fire and (the)
cattle rose and went to where the fire was : this is how Fulani obtained
A legend as to the origin of the Nomadic Fulani is that a woman of
the Settled Fulani gave birth to a son. One day she quarrelled with
her husband and left him in a temper, taking the child into bush.
She put the child down, and after a while returned home, forgetting him.
Later on he was missed and, though they went into bush and sought for
him, he could not be found. The child grew up in the bush, and had
become a youth, when one day a spirit appeared to him and informed
him that, as he had lived all his life in the bush, so would he continue
to live ; but that he would have riches : the spirit instructed him to go
to the river and, when he saw a white cow come out of the water, he was
to turn round and walk away from the river, and the cow would follow.
The youth did as he was told : he saw the white cow come out of the
water, turned round and walked away : he walked away for a long time,
but at ast turned round to ook, unaware that, all this time, white cattle
had been coming out of the river and following him, and that there was
now a great number of them. Immediately he turned round they
ceased to come out of the water. The last four were red cattle, and this
exp ains why white cattle are far greater in numbers than red cattle.
The youth continued to live in bush. He married an Arab g irl:
they gave birth, and their sons and daughters, who were very lightskinned, married each other. Their cattle increased and increased in
numbers. The descendants continued to marry between themselves :
they have kept to the bush and do not go to the towns and marry.
This version, given by a man of Jafun descent, appears to be
appropriate to the Jafun tribes, which are divided, some being nomadic
and others semi-nomadic, but of common origin.
As to character, a Fulani or ‘Pullo* (pi. Fulbe) has an innate sense
of what is decorous and proper ; is pohte and respectful in manner to his
seniors : capable of great fortitude ; of bearing great pain or affliction
without showing his feelings : reticent regarding his affairs and, as a rule,
his wrongs, real or fancied. He has a deep sense of shame. Unjustly
humiliated, he will never forget the wrong done to him — it is said that
elders, in some such instances, pine away and literally die of shame.
Justly punished for an offence he was wilfully committed, he is usually
quick to “ forgive and forget ”. He is of a generally cheerful disposition.
On the other hand, bad blood is engendered in “ affairs of the heart”,
which may lead to woundings ; while there are some who will stoop to
the meanest tricks in order to revenge themselves on another. Intrigue
and jealousy occurs between office-seekers.
As prevaricators and artists in subterfuge, Fulani (Fulbe) would I
think, hold their own in any company. As a whole, Fulani are very
quick tempered ; very sensitive ; easily take offence ; strongly resent an
insult, which they do not take “ lying down after high words, however,
the matter is usually considered over, especially where others intervene
as pacifiers.
In affrays in which staves, knives, swords, or other weapons are used,
a Fulani will usually give a good account of himself: he is not liable to
run away.
Of the superior intelligence of the average Fulani there can be no
doubt; but their character in general would appear to retard their
advancement. Their suspicion of strangers, with attendant reticence
and evasiveness making even friendly advances difficult; and their
inherited feeling of superiority to those peoples among which they
dwell; has maintained a barrier between themselves and all but
a few outside their race.
While the customs and characteristics of the various tribes of Nomadic
hulani (or ‘Cow Fulani *, ‘Bush Fulani’, as they are often called) are
varied to a considerable degree, one can generalise to some extent.
Some customs are common also to the ‘Settled Fulani’, and certain
remarks must apply to a greater or less extent to these.
In considering Nomadic Fulani as a whole, the type ranges from those
who never spend more than a few days in one place ; through those who
have no centre to which they return for a season, but continue to wander
with their whole family, making more or less prolonged seasonal camps
in any locality which suits them ; to those who have a centre where the
aged and some of the other members of the family remain, and which is
visited from time to time by those members who graze the herds — such
as some of the Kano country tribes which spend the rainy season about
Bornu, Hadeiia and Katagum ; bring their cattle down to the proximity
of their ‘ home town ’ ; leave some milking cattle and pick up dry
cows and other stock, and proceed to the Nassarawa area of Benue
Province for the dry season, returning North again with the advent of
the rains.
It will be found that the majority of these nomads have a more or less
circumscribed circuit of seasonal grazing, unless and until something
occurs to cause them to make up their minds to vary it and try their
chances elsewhere.
Many remain for several seasons about one area and then forsake it for
another at greater or less distance ; possibly returning a few years later
if they find the new area less suitable to their stock, or in their estimation
in some other way unsuitable : such as some of the members of clans of
Katsina — Kano origin, for many years moving about in the Southern
areas of Sokoto Province, who went as far as the Bayaro area of Dahomey
in the last four years, which excursion had not, I understand, been
undertaken before ; but who are now returning.
Major migrations take place over a series of years, a few members —
the scouts — leading the way and sending back reports as to conditions,
when, if favourable, others follow ; so that, gradually, some thousands
of cattle belonging to many families are moved to a distance, the time
elapsing before the movement is completed being numbered in years.
Of this type is the movement off the Jos-Pankshin Plateau, commencing
in 1932, and reaching the Chamba area of Southern Adamawa and Muri
in 1933-35, whence many Fulani passed East to the Cameroon Highlands.
This gradual movement — they may spend some seasons^ route— was
still in progress when I visited Southern Adamawa in 1937 and met
Fulani whom I had known about Pankshin in 1930.
I am told, however, that the movement onward into French Territory
to the East received a check when the authorities there prevented some
of the Fulani, who wished to return, from bringing their cattle with
them, so that those following did not go forward as they had intended.


Mention of the Kano-Katsina Fulani above, as being in the Southern
part of Sokoto Province, recalls to mind another big migration, of
Fulani from Daura, the elders of which say came about on account
of a desire for new grazing grounds. This movement was gradual,
via Zungeru area, thence to Kontagora area, whence some pushed on
to Yauri Emirate and the Southern part of Gwandu Emirate, and more
to the hill areas of Rijau and Zuru, which they reached about 1907-1908.
They are present in these areas in large numbers, with big herds of
cattle, which they say have increased considerably in numbers during
this period. Their important chiefs came with them and remained
in central positions : their descendants now retain these chiefships.
As in past times, the movements appear to be due to two main
reasons : a search for new pastures and an unexpressed, but nevertheless
keen, desire for independence and freedom from what they consider
unwelcome interference and supervision by authority.
Following the British occupation of Kano and Sokoto in 1901, there
were considerable migrations of Nomadic Fulani, and many have never
returned : these migrations appear to have included many Wodabe.
The first great reason for these movements, the never-ending search
for new pastures, includes a strong desire to keep their cattle away
from those of the Settled Fulani, which they accuse of bringing and
spreading cattle diseases wherever they go, and which, in these days,
are for ever invading areas hitherto almost the preserve of the Nomadic
Regardingthis distrust of the cattle of the Settled Fulani, the Nomadic
tribes, wherever that may be, keep their cattle well apart from those of
local Fulani. On each occasion on which I have visited the Chamba
area of Southern Adamawa, I have been urgently requested by the
nomads to supply a separate inoculation ground for them : they kept
their cattle separate from those of the settled Adamawa Fulani, which
were “ full of diseases” , and did not wish to mix with them at an
inoculation camp. At our camp in Yauri Division of Sokoto they
always have the greatest suspicion of the non-nomadic herds which
come in, keeping their cattle well apart from those of the Settled Fulani,
and virtually reserving one end of the inoculation ground. In both
cases they keep the cattle apart during the period of quarantine and on
the day of release. I was told recently that a considerable number
of Siwalbe who had for some years been in Nassarawa area of Benue
Province, to which they came from Kano and Bornu, had returned
whence they came owing to the increasing prevalence of Settled Fulani
Sections of various tribes or clans may be found over an area of
thousands of square miles, in many instances sections being so far
separated that they have no knowledge of each other, though they
acknowledge being of the same tribe. In an area favoured by Nomadic
Fulani it is usual to find families of a number of clans (of, for example,
Kano Province origin) often lightly interconnected by tie of locality ;
such families, or parties of families, keeping their camp, or camps,
separate from those of the other clans, though freely mingling socially.

1 1

It is interesting to find, on making enquiry, that so many ascribe
their origin to so few small places, notably the large numbers who
claim origin from places in Katsina and Kano Provinces, for example,
Bebeji; Shanono (which the majority of Siwalbe speak of as their
place of origin); and the numbers of Jafun origin.
In many cases the connections refer to the comparatively distant
past, neither the informant nor his father having even visited the place
of origin. It would appear that they often have reference to that time
when some early ancestor, perhaps the clan founder — since genealogies
are not traced as far back as the clan founder or common ancestor —
found a favourable spot about which he grazed his cattle for some
period. As the family group (or patrilinear clan) increased and the
number of cattle multiplied, the group or clan would split up. Then,
as now, the cattle would be divided, and the younger members seek
more extensive pasture grounds, thus easing the local pastures and
ensuring that they did not become cattle-fouled, and at the same time
minimizing the risks of an outbreak of disease.
While the elders might remain as a family centre to which the
younger members returned at intervals, gradually the group would
split up as those who married, and were given or inherited cattle,
became independent and in their turn had offspring. Then, as now,
members would from time to time visit their relatives until the death
of those nearer related to them, or distance and, in the old days, the
dangers of travel, severed the link and created a separate entity.
Nevertheless, there is constant intercourse over vast distances;
visitors are constantly coming and going, or emissaries being sent from
place to place ; while those on a journey avidly exchange news and
gossip with acquaintances they meet. The speed with which these
Fulani transmit news is proverbial. The whereabouts of any head of
a family of Nomadic Fulani, within an area considerably greater than,
for instance, Sokoto Province, is usually ascertainable without having
to ask more than one or two members of the Nomadic clans.
In the period of misrule by the Fulani overlords during the latter
part of the nineteenth century, Nomadic Fulani did not escape cattleraiding parties sent out by rulers into adjacent countries against which
they were warring ; but they were less easy to discover than the Settled
Fulani, and in many cases the wildness of their cattle militated against
the success of the raiders in getting them all home.
At the coming of the British it was found that there was a ‘ tax ’
on nomadic cattle, apparently little more than a grazing fee or tribute,
or as much as could be obtained in cattle from the owners, since no
general rate was imposed and, doubtless, then as now, owners had
little to learn in ways of evading payment.
Of profound influence on the history of the cattle-owning Fulani
are great losses of cattle through disease, chief of which has been
Rinderpest. In the years 1887-1891 a great outbreak of Rinderpest
decimated the herds of cattle-owners. Starting apparently about
Darfur, the disease reached what is now the French Colonie du Tchad
in 1886, spreading straight from East to West. In the greater part of
present-day Nigeria the disease wiped out the great majority of cattle.
This outbreak was commonly known in Hausa as ‘ Sannu ’, from the
Hausa greeting used as an expression of sympathy. The older men
tell one terrible stories of those days. Attempts were made, by some,
to fly from the disease and preserve their cattle. Fulani, having lost
all — or nearly all — their cattle, became demented: many are said to
have done away with themselves. Some roamed the bush calling
imaginary cattle: assaults on persons for imagined provocation or
suspected derisive remarks as to loss of cattle were common. When
the outbreak had spent itself and passed on, Fulani of the eastern areas
of what is now Nigeria renewed their cattle from parts of Adamawa
that had escaped, while those to the West obtained the almost
humpless ‘ Keteji ’ type kept by the Borgu Fulani from time
immemorial, hardly cattle of the bush and hills of Borgu, Kaiama and
Nikki, which had apparently escaped the ravages of Rinderpest to
a considerable extent. So great was the demand for cattle that, locally,
it was common in many places to offer large prices for the unborn calf.
In 1913-1914 was a further widespread outbreak causing tremendous
losses, following a great drought and famine over a large area : this was
known by some as ‘ Gamagari ’ (Hausa), from its being general over
a wide area.
Again, in 1919-1920, another widespread outbreak devastated
Fulani herds ; “ So that even hyaena did not eat the bodies of the dead
cattle.” It was known by some as ‘Docchal’, because of the
few cattle it spared in a herd ; 4 docchal5 being Fulani for a remainder
or remnant.
The disease, of course, took its toll in the years between these great
outbreaks, and continued to do so, to greater or less extent, until the
introduction of preventive inoculation by the Veterinary Department,
which quickly became popular, and within a few years this scourge
of the Fulani was under control. The losses in cattle must have been
enormous : even now many Fulani say that they have by no means the
number of cattle which they used to possess before the latter outbreaks.
While some were fortunate and able to keep going the strain of cattle
they had inherited, many were reduced to such nonderscript herds as
they could build up in the course of time, so long as they consisted
of cattle of some so rt; perhaps establishing a type later, as the herd
grew. A common explanation for possessing cattle of a type differing
from those traditionally possessed by the tribe (for example, a Bodado,
whom one would expect to have red cattle, possessing those of ‘ White
Kano ’ type) is a laconic ; “ Soinde na’i ” — “ Lack of cattle.” Following
repeated outbreaks, many of the Settled Fulani have never replaced
their lost herds.
Of the Nomadic Fulani, it may be said that cattle are his life ; they
are “ in the blood ” : he has no other trade, and he may have no other
possession — some do not even keep sheep as a side-line. Without
cattle he is lost. Should he be deprived of all his cattle through disease
or other misfortune, his one idea is to re-establish a herd. It is a
characteristic that in many instances, if they have escaped his misfortune,
his relatives and friends will help him with gifts of cattle. Otherwise
he must make shift for himself. He will tend a herd for another, who
lacks a son or other suitable herdsman, for his keep and for a gratuity
of a heifer, preferably, or a young bull, at the end of the season.
He will undertake a spell of labour, more frequently cultivating
a farm for a season or two, moving to a village for the purpose : any
shift which will mean cattle of his own eventually, and future independence. It is not uncommon to hear of a man restarting a herd literally
“ ab ovo ” — purchasing a hen, setting the eggs, setting the eggs of the
progeny ; selling some of the fowls and buying a goat or goats and,
eventually, from their increase, being able to purchase a heifer. It is
well known that a Fulani will practise great self-denial when the
necessity arises.
Some of the differences between Nomadic and Settled Fulani,
as seen at the present day, are significant of the gulf that lies between
.them in social outlook.
The Settled Fulani scorn the Nomadic types for their laxity in their
religious outlook, and undoubtedly adhere far more strictly to the
tenets of Islam : whereas they keep their wives in seclusion — the
modified purdah of the common people of these areas — the Nomadic
tribes have no purdah. The Settled Fulani has his marriage legalised
according to Muhammadan law. The nomads have a procedure which
entirely dispenses with any legal form, and there is a system of informal
divorce and remarriage with no period of ‘ iddat ’ before a woman may
be remarried. (Frequently a married woman will meet by arrangement another Fulani who will take her to his home and, paying the
bride price, marry her without further ceremony.)
The Nomadic tribes say that the Settled Fulani marry without sound
order or sense and without selection ; hold them in contempt for
marrying non-Fulani, scorning them for tainting the blood.
While the Settled Fulani look on the nomads as ‘ pagan ’, the nomads
look on them as ‘degenerates*.
They do not seek each other in marriage or, if so, such is still unusual,
exceptions being such instances as when, for example, on account of
not begetting progeny, a nomad is advised to marry a woman of a tribe
of Settled Fulani.
Again, the Settled Fulani may scoff at the Nomadic for living
under hard conditions — “ too mean to part with a beast in order
to live well ” — getting little out of life, exposed to all weathers
and growing old quickly in looking after their livestock ; while the
Nomadic say the Settled Fulani are poverty-stricken, and accuse
them of selling their stock in order to satisfy their desires, luxuries
in food, fine clothing and the like.
Fulani whose main interest is in cattle-rearing often say that their
chief reason for not building themselves better houses, such as claybuilt, thatched huts, in place of rough shelters constructed of leafage,
grass, cornstalks, bamboo branches, and the like, where circumstances
may well permit of such— for instance, where they have a permanent
centre—is that this would tend to make them lazy and neglect their
cattle, especially at night and early morning.
The great majority of typical Nomadic Fulani do not farm except,
as a rule, through poverty of cattle ; or prefer, if cash is available, to
hire others to do the work. In saying; “ I have never used a hoe
and, God willing, I never shall” , the speaker indicates that it would
only be through misfortune and loss of his cattle that the necessity to
farm would arise. Further, of course, to one not brought up to it,
hoeing, never a light task, is heavy work.
This would not refer to such as a number of the Jafun tribes who
farm an area, usually near a ‘ habe * (i.e. non-Fulani) village, store
their crops at the village, and then proceed with their cattle to the dry
season grazing areas. One would more properly class these sections
as semi-nomadic.
It is common to find Nomadic Fulani living in contiguity with pagan
tribes : it is convenient to the Fulani to live near pagans, and, in many
areas, a pagan hamlet in cattle-grazing country will not be in existence
for two years but a Fulani makes his encampment close to it.
From the pagans the Fulani family will obtain food and other
commodities at cheap rates : milk can be easily exchanged for corn
et cetera, and the Fulani do not, therefore, have to sell a beast from
time to time, as would probably be the case in ‘Hausa’ country, where
it would be necessary to have cash available to supplement that realized
by the sale of dairy produce, in order to buy foods.
At harvest time is the advantage of stubble grazing on the pagans*
farms. (In some cases, but relatively few, manuring is valuable to the
pagans.) A more subtle reason is that often the guileless, good-natured
pagan leads himself into being made useful, even to the extent of
bringing together a band of workers to help his “ Fulani friend, who
is badly off for man-power, to get some little farming done ” .
They do not intermarry, neither side desiring the other in marriage.
Literacy is practically non-existent among the Nomadic Fulani :
there are few educated persons able to read and write Arabic, much less
those learned in Muhammadan doctrine, among them ; nor do they put
their sons to the schools. In one large area popular to these Fulani —
numbering hundreds — I know of none who is literate among the
tribes represented locally, though there are two members of the
Ba’en tribe, neither of whom are in the area, who are learned scholars.
The lack of learning among them is accounted for, by them, by their
being fully occupied with their cattle — as is said ; “ A man of property
has no time to spare.” It would be possible, having lost his cattle, or
handed them over to the care of others, for a man to dwell in a town
and within a short time become a ‘ modibbo ’ (man of letters), having
no other work with which he must occupy himself, and thus applying
himself wholeheartedly to scholarship. It is obvious and, indeed,
agreed by all, that the nomads are quick learners and intelligent
The Nomadic Fulani are undoubtedly, as a whole, lax in their
attitude to religion. I have read, and heard the statement made, that
they are pagans ; but personally I do not know of a camp in which the
orthodox Muhammadan devotions are entirely disregarded, while it is
usual to find that a number of persons of each camp are in possession
of a rosary.
They may be, and in many cases indubitably are, very wayward,
frequently breaking the laws of ‘ haram ’ (utterly forbidden). Their
marriage customs are commented on elsewhere. Moreover their
superstitions, belief in omens, rites and practices proceeding from
superstitious belief, are often marked to a degree.
Many of the younger members appear especially lax, and some of the
elder never abandon their lax ways ; though others, as they advance in
years, pay more attention to religion. It is not uncommon to find, in a
younger man at least, when required to take oath upon the Koran, that
it is necessary to enquire further as to his knowledge of the set daily
devotions for, though he says he does perform them, it is often found
that his is only a very superficial knowledge, and he is not fit to take the
oath in that manner.
While the strictly orthodox may contemptuously dismiss them as
‘ pagans’, enquiry would reveal them to be ignorant Muhammadans ;
at the lowest, nominal Muhammadans.
There is a ‘ Fulani code’, ‘ Pulaku ’ (the word has other meanings),
which is common to all Fulani, though variously interpreted according
to public opinion of the various communities. Pulaku deals
with morais and manners which regulate the conduct of a Fulani in his
dealings with others of his race and people of other races ; the proper
behaviour as between young people and elders ; customs and principles.
While public opinion usually guides the enforcement of this moral code,
hearings, decisions, and penalties for breaches, may rest in the hands of
Out of respect for them, Fulani do not use the names of certain
relatives when speaking of them. Most usually such include the name
of one’s husband, the father of one’s wife or of one’s husband, and the
mother of one’s wife or husband, sometimes of one’s father.
A person with the same name as one’s father may be addressed as ;
My father’s namesake”, in order to avoid mentioning the name.
The Nomadic Fulani appear to carry the custom further than other
types, and may include the seniors of the community ; the friends, being
contemporaries, of their father ; the maternal uncle.
Some do not speak the name of the local ruler (common also to the
Hausa), nor of their own chief or ‘ ardo \
A period of some forty years of peaceful conditions, following the
establishment of British administration, has naturally had some effect on
the Nomadic Fulani, with changed conditions everywhere about them.
Prior to this era, few of them spent any time in the villages — it was
not safe for them to do so, as they might be held to ransom to be paid in
cattle by their relatives. Nowadays it is common to find that a
considerable proportion of the elders, and others who do not graze the
cattle, spend much of the time in nearby villages, returning to the camp
at evening. There is today less necessity to guard flocks and herds
There is also a tendency in some quarters to a breakdown of some of
the old customs, such as the traditional custom of inheritance giving
way to the distribution of the estate according to Muhammadan law ;
marriage customs, and the like.
It is regrettable to find, during this period, that at least one instance
of the lack of the stricter morals of other days has, in some families,
brought retribution. Women visiting the towns to sell dairy produce
in past days would scorn to accept the advances of a townsman, whereas
in these days some are not averse to acceding, with the result that a
number of half-Fulani progeny are born into the families : considerable
trouble is now often experienced by the older Fulani, where this has
occurred, to get them to take an interest in the cattle : older men
deplore the fact that they cannot get youths to remain at the camp ; the
recalcitrant youths behave to their elders as no true-born Fulani son
would to his parent.
In pagan areas where brewing and fermenting of alcoholic drinks is
not restricted, a deal of drinking is indulged in by a number of the men :
this is true of some sections which have left the more strictly Muhammadan areas in comparatively recent times, and who used not to drink.
Even so, a laxity in certain directions, and a tendency towards easier
living, does not appear to be general, and has hardly affected the customs
of large numbers of them : the old customs still hold : residence in, and
migration to, the less thickly populated areas among unsophisticated
peoples, and age-old traditions that have stood the test of time and
varying conditions, would appear to be factors in ensuring their
Fulani used to have their own method of dealing with criminal
offenders among themselves, such matters being in the hands of a
council of elders called together for the purpose. Except in the case of
slaves, no imprisonment took place, since it is supposed in the case of
Fulani that, if imprisoned, their fortune is dissipated for ever. Nor
Would the offender be driven away, such being shameful to the particular
community to which he belonged. The method was to take some of
his livestock. A bull might be taken and slaughtered and the whole
community partake of the m eat: or stock sold and the proceeds
distributed among them. In the case of manslaughter, compensation
for the relatives of the dead person (diyya), also, was exacted, and to
double, or more than double, the amount of that imposed by a court.
Perhaps, from a herd of 100 head of cattle, twenty or thirty head would
be taken, some twenty or so for the relatives, and the remainder for the
collected elders for their trouble, especially onerous in such cases, in
persuading the injured parties to forgive, and avoiding what might
well become a 4 blood-feud \
It is thought that these Fulani ‘ courts ’ persisted up to some twenty
years ago.
Where a young man takes to extravagant ways, enjoying the pleasures
of the towns, fine clothes and the like, to the extent that he makes
inroads in the herd, cattle being sold to raise cash, he is not infrequently
expelled from the home by his father or elders, or, otherwise, leaves
home after having been reprimanded, preferring to wander abroad.
As to leadership, naturally the Nomadic Fulani have their own
leaders and spokesmen.
Usually the more important chiefs remain about one place, generally
in the vicinity of a town, for a number of years, with only a small
following of near relations, and a few cattle : they do not move about
with the larger numbers of cattle ; the members of the clan grazing the
herds elsewhere, and not settling by their chief. If he possesses a
number of cattle, beyond those kept nearby him, he may see them at
the times at which the seasonal grazing brings them into the vicinity,
or perhaps not for a few years. Frequently such a chief owns
comparatively few cattle.
It is usual to find that a man who has successfully kept together
a large herd, and is considered to have good fortune, has a following ;
having with him his sons and their families ; his younger brothers and
his nephews, and their children. Such a man may assume or acquire
a title, and a title is inherited by a son or brother.
A chief (for example, 4 ardo ’, = leader) has little or no authority
beyond his closer relatives. The clan will, of itself, collect round a
good ‘ ardo ’— he has not the authority to collect it ; but will disperse
from an unpopular one.
A successful man, having collected a considerable following, would
assume a title in an area other than that wherein the senior chief
remains : should he visit the area in which the chief dwells, even
though this chief should be poor in cattle, he would still acknowledge
him as his superior in chiefship, and profess his own allegiance, and
would, if in the vicinity, pay him a courtesy visit. If he had dealings
with the local ruler, such would be done through the medium of, or
in company with, this resident ‘ ardo ’ or chief. Thus, at a giver
time in a certain area or emirate, some clans will be found to have nc
chief, while some have more than one. Members of a section of ont
tribe with no local leader or 'ard o ’, having become separated bj
distance from any chief of their own, sometimes attach themselves
to some other tribe or section of a tribe, with whom they are or have
been in some way associated, such as tie of locality of origin, who have
a leader or chief who is in contact with the ruler of the area in which
they are grazing, or in an adjacent area.
A typical ‘ Cow ’ Fulani knows his cattle individually : while he may
not know exactly how many he has, he does know if one is missing,
and which individual animal this is, and will avoid no exertions in
searching for it until discovered. There are names for an almost
infinite number of combinations of hair colours, and by these names
the cattle are known : the individual animal is often spoken to by that
name and, when a Fulani is moving his cattle, many of the cries, which
appear to the uninitiated to be nothing more than vague noises made
to the herd, are, in reality, calls to individual animals.
Further, it is to be remarked that these Fulani are able to identify
the animal of a neighbour’s herd, even though not of the same camp
or clan, and, from its characteristics, to name the line on the female
side, in that herd, from which it has been bred ; so that, if butchers
are seen to be leading a beast to the town, the remark ; “ That is from
so-and-so’s herd ” , is a commonplace.
The ease with which the majority control their cattle — often none
too tame — is often commented on, small boys being quite capable of
controlling a considerable herd out to graze.
Sometimes control is so good that, should the herdsman desire to
keep the wherebouts of the cattle secret, one may pass close by a herd
in bush without hearing a sound or knowing that there is a herd within
miles, the cattle having remained quite still, being trained to follow the
herdsman, and when he stops, as if to listen for pursuers, to remain
together, silent, and also listening for any sound from that direction.
I have watched cattle at a camp walk quietly, one by one, into bush
when the owner, not wishing me to inspect them closely, spoke to them
in undertones — in the intervals explaining to me how he could not
keep the herd together. On another occasion, I have heard the light
tapping of a staff on a tree send the cattle helter-skelter to the sleepingplace, at a distance, where they all faced about in the direction of our
approach : here they could be inspected at will and remain perfectly
quiet, whereas in bush they would have scattered ; some herds being
so trained — a device dating from the old days, but still found very
convenient on certain occasions.
It is not uncommon to see a whole herd follow the leadership of the
herdsman at a quick run. Swimming cattle over broad rivers, the
cattle following the herdsman, is a specialised a r t: where cattle are not
used to it, it is hard work getting them to enter the deep w ater; for
several days the cattle may break back and have to be collected for
the morrow’s attem pt: finally, on occasions, some other known crossing
may have to be tried, all attempts having failed : extra precautions,
with canoe-men in attendance, are commonly taken.
These ‘ Cow * Fulani take a pride in their cattle, and take care of
them : great is the scorn expressed when tick-ridden animals are seen
in another’s herd — an obvious sign of lack of attention.
Pack-oxen, whose early training is confined to carrying the picketingropes or other light bundles, are commonly used for transport, though
donkeys may be used to carry young children and the aged. Some
of the larger oxen are a fine sight, carrying the bamboo branches
‘ kewe ’ (which constitute the portable shelters of a number of nomads) ;
the household and milking utensils, calabashes, corn-mortars and the
like ; while it sometimes takes a second look to find some young children
perched securely among these articles, almost as young birds in a nest.
A number of — or at the least a few — sheep are more frequently
kept than n o t: they can be disposed of when the smaller needs for ready
cash arise, obviating the necessity to sell from the herd. Cattle may
be sold at any time ; as needs for clothing arise ; on occasions
of the arrival and entertainment of visitors; for celebrations
and other expenses after childbirth, etc. ; to meet cattle-tax; or
to buy food if this is short on account of the amount of dairy
produce for disposal being small. The average Fulani does not
trust himself to keep intact any considerable amount of money for any
length of time.
Before moving their herds from one area to another, or when on the
move, nomads are careful to make extensive enquiries as to the state
of the area into which they propose moving, gathering all the news
they can, especially as regards cattle diseases or absence of disease,
and sending members out well in advance for this purpose.
The same holds good, in my experience, in the case of cattle inoculation
camps, when a scout is sent on to enquire regarding all conditions :
this scout is probably never known to the Veterinary staff; but even
if he is known, it will not be any propaganda by the staff which will
decide him whether to recommend his people to bring their cattle or
n o t: they will go on his report of what he has gathered from Fulani
and what he has seen with his own eyes. More than once, on noticing
a stranger, I have told him to look round his friends’ inoculated cattle
and see how they have fared ; receiving the reply ; “ I have already
done that.”
Although, with the freer movement of all types of cattle-owner
since the British occupation, avoidance of contagious diseases is less
easy (a disgruntled old Fulani once said to me ; “ I never saw all these
different diseases until after the ‘ white men ’ came : my cattle were all
right until everything was changed by them ”), these Fulani are successful, often over a long period of years, in keeping their herds free from
them. Their calculations are sometimes upset by the presence of
Rinderpest in wild ruminants and pig. I recollect a case of this a few
years ago, when a member of the Bagananko’en, with his extensive
family, brought a total of some 1,600 head of strong and very wild
cattle to our Talata Mafara (Sokoto Province) camp. In conversation
with one of the sons, aged about 24 or 25, I found that he had never
previously seen Rinderpest in their herds : but that some cattle had
recently become infected through contact with bush animals, and the
whole party, which had been more or less together, had decided to come
in for anti-Rinderpest inoculation at once : happily they lost very few
cattle. I know, at the present time, of parties of families with large
numbers of cattle — in two cases they number well over a thousand
head — in a comparatively small, but somewhat isolated area, which
have for many years not experienced Rinderpest, nor have they ever
brought their cattle for inoculation. I (and they as well) know of other
parties which have within recent years lost up to, and over, 90 per cent
of cattle from a natural outbreak of Rinderpest; yet they appear to
prefer to take their chance rather than risk some mortality following
inoculation, and bringing their herds out of their isolation into close
contact with the herds of other owners.
Some of the older men have a surprising knowledge, extending over
a vast area, of details of the reputation of grazing areas both good and
bad : and take great care to avoid those where ‘ hendu ’ or ‘ ladde ’
has been known to cause a mortality, even though it were twenty or
more years ago : since ‘ hendu ’ would include such spore-forming
diseases as Anthrax, their attitude would appear to be well-founded.
It would seem that, following the death of such older men, knowledge
of this kind is allowed, in some cases, to die with them, or cautions
are ignored by their successors. As a case in point, some condition of,
or at the time of, the ‘ black-waters ’ of the mid-December — mid-March
Niger floods, is known to have seriously affected herds, and caused a
great mortality in certain years, though not recently : the people who
have grazed in these areas in the southern part of Sokoto Province for
years, withdraw their cattle from about the river until these floods are
passed : but some nomads who have recently arrived in the area are
apparently unaware of this state of things (their elders having died,
they moved away from an adjacent area where they had grazed for some
years), or have not heeded warnings : locally there is much shaking of
heads over their folly, for it is not doubted that a mortality will recur
sooner or later.
It sometimes occurs that young men — this applies more to nonnomads— sent off for the dry season grazing grounds, discover an
area of good grass which others appear to have missed, although
adjacent areas are full of cattle ; and only discover some time later,
through the appearance of, for instance, Trypanosomiasis, that there
was very good reason for the area being left ungrazed.
The waters of various streams and pools are very generally considered
responsible for a subsequent outbreak of 4 Sammore ’, which term
includes Trypanosomiasis ; and are referred to, by some, as ‘ ndiyam
kewe’, that is, the water by which the bamboo Oxytenanthera
abyssinica abounds— where tsetse are probably present— which water
is said by them to affect humans as well.
Cattle are considered to be 4 salted * to Trypanosomiasis in the course
of two years. However, heavy losses from this disease may occur in
herds in certain years, notably following a hard dry season which has
left cattle thin and weak. I have noticed that some owners spend a
season away from a known tsetse-infected area before coming in for
anti-Rinderpest inoculation ; return to their 4 fly ’ area for two or three
seasons, and then repeat the procedure; which indicates that they
realise that trypanosome infected cattle have little reserve of resistance
against an added strain.
In following a policy of isolation from contagious diseases, it has
been the custom to break up herds and avoid having “ all one’s eggs
in one basket ” by herding groups of cattle separately on different
pasturages. For similar reasons it was, and is, not usual to bring all
Rinderpest-susceptible cattle for inoculation at one time, though in
some cases even the Nomadic Fulani now do this— apart from young
calves ; but still with some trepidation lest some untoward happening
Apart from this precaution, the various sections of Nomadic clans
do not make encampments close to each other. They do not buy in
cattle, except from a kinsman who may wish to realise for cash in order
to buy clothing, salt, etc., and then only a beast which they know through
having spent the season together with the owner. An exception is
importation of bulls from owners of certain types of cattle renowned
for their good qualities, as the 4 Jabtoji ’ type among the red longhorns ;
or some similar particular circumstance ; but never from a stranger
or in the m arket: the Settled Fulani often do buy thus, and perhaps
purchase beasts which may have been hawked round several m arkets;
in this way they frequently introduce disease into their herds.
By this system, combined with that of obtaining news of outbreaks
of disease, the nomads reckon they are well able to avoid those contagious
diseases which are not endemic. In Nigeria, as a whole, their one
great fear is an outbreak of Rinderpest, which they cannot, in the main,
avoid, since they may inadvertently cross the trail of Rinderpest
infected cattle or bush animals, or water their cattle at the same place.
Calves are generally considered immune from (or at most suffer
a very mild attack of) Rinderpest, if their dams have had the disease
until the rain of the wet season following that in which they are born
strikes them ; which means that they are immune until they are several
months old, as to the majority, since most are dropped during the hot
season just prior to the rains (the time of the early tornados), and
during the early rains.
According to some — the following was given by an elder of a
Rahaji clan — the site of an outbreak of Rinderpest or Contagious
Bovine Pleuro-pneumonia is considered clear after two months : the
spot where a Pleuro-pneumonia death occurred must be burned over.
If during the rains, Rinderpest and Pleuro-pneumonia infected land
must not be grazed over for ten days, so that rain may clean it.
Land infected with ‘ Hendu ’— which may include Blackquarter
and Anthrax— may not be grazed for two years (though others may
do so— some are said to have a charm or preventative against it).
If cattle die at a wet season camp from ‘ Hendu,’ then cattle which
are put o?T the site of that camp the following wet season will die ;
but a hot season outbreak does not have this ill effect. No doubt
ideas on the subject vary considerably.
The majority of nomads, and some others, warn nearby cattle-owners
of an infection in their cattle, so that these neighbours may have the
opportunity of moving their herds away, and an arrangement as to
separate pasturing and watering places is made. Non-nomads confirm
this : it is agreed that non-nomads are as likely as not to hide the fact
that their cattle are infected, and frequently camp close to, or let the
carcass of a dead beast lie near, the camp of another, from sheer
maliciousness, so that they shall not be the only losers. I have often
heard of such instances. Should a ‘ stranger ’ bring cattle infected
with disease into a ‘ preserve ’ of Nomadic Fulani, he will not, as a rule,
be there long before he is set upon and driven out with the blows, of a
number of angry cattlemen.
Among antidotes for various conditions, those for 4 Hendu ’ or
‘Ladde’, or whatever term may be used locally for the diseases
which suddenly strike down cattle (with Blackwater, etc.), may more
properly be left to the section on superstitions. Cures for many
minor disorders are made up, usually from concoctions of barks, herbs
and the like. Some claim a remedy for Redwater. Many of the
individual recipes are kept a secret to the individual or to the family.
Of more practical use is the vaccination against Contagious Bovine
Pleuro-pneumonia. A piece of infected lung is left in milk for two
or three days until of a sufficient ‘sourness’. A small piece is inserted
under the skin of the nose of each beast to be treated, a cut being made
to receive it, and the piece pressed well in. Some days later the beasts
are again caught and fired, an oval being described about the seat
of vaccination on the nose. Other lines are made, one on either
side of the face, later, in cases where extensive reaction threatens ;
in order to encircle swellings which spread towards the neck, in an
attempt to limit them.
The method is frequently effective ; but is crude, and often leads to
enormous swelling of the head ; extensive suppuration and sloughing ;
and a number of deaths. Experts are not always available : it is not
carried out by all and sundry ; some considerable areas possess nobody
with the necessary knowledge and ability.
An interesting experiment was carried out some ten years or so ago
in Yauri Division : the idea being to obtain for cattle life-immunity
against Rinderpest by exposing them to contact with cattle with an
infection which had been noticed to be so mild as to cause no mortality
in the herd in which it started. A number of Fulani took their cattle,
and what appeared to be a satisfactory reaction ensued : however, some
four years afterwards, the cattle were exposed to an outbreak of
Rinderpest to which many succumbed. The experiment has not been
repeated, to my knowledge, nor have I heard of its like elsewhere.
Reduction of fractures is practised, the animal’s limb being set in
splints and bound.
Castration of bulls is performed usually when they are well grown
and two to three years old, or older, by placing the spermatic cords
over a pestle used for pounding grain, and beating them with a clothbeater’s mallet, the operation taking some considerable time, and the
animal often taking long to recover fully from the effects of the subsequent swelling and possible other injury. With rams, the cord is
beaten with the iron rod used for pressing out cotton-seeds. It is
not all Fulani who practise castration of rams, but those who do so
say that it is preferable to operate on them when young, by opening
the scrotum and cutting the cords : to control subsequent bleeding,
the scrotum is filled with a decoction of the soaked pods of ‘ gabdi ’
(the tree Acacia arabica), recognized as a styptic.
The powdered bark of the tree ‘ kahi ’ (Khaya senegalensis) is
used on sores and wounds, and is said to be a remedy against maggots.
I have watched with interest the treatment of a punctured wound
in the belly of a heifer which had been badly torn by horning, the
muscular belly-wall having been perforated, and the gut extruded
but not pierced. A rag was allowed to smoulder while the beast was
carefully thrown, the exposed gut was returned to place, the prepared
rag placed over the gash in the belly-wall and then smeared with
hot butter to prevent pus forming : it was explained that if raw butter
were used, or if none were available, a handful of grains of corn would
be poured in to have the same effect. The flaps of skin were secured
by making holes with an awl near the edges, and the flaps sewn together
with fibre.
The heifer made a quick recovery. It was obvious that this was not
the first case which the operator had dealt with.
Bulls are not infrequently introduced from herds of certain clans
which are celebrated for the good quality and purity of type of their
cattle ; as, for example, the fine red ‘ Jabtoji ’ type with pure white horn.
If an owner’s cattle number twenty or over, he should possess his own
stock-bull. The service of a bull is allowed free and in neighbourly
goodwill to a small owner, except to a man who has as many cattle as
warrant the possession of a stock-bull of his own, or has as many cattle
as his neighbours, and has refused to acquire one.
In a large herd, however many bulls there be, the younger ones will
not be able to serve cows and heifers, for fear of the ‘ master ’ bull,
except in stolen cases ; all the adult cattle being herded together.
If thought necessary to rest the stock-bull from overserving, etc., this
‘ master ’ bull is tied up, and the next in size and strength takes his
place. Commencing to serve as a three-year-old, a bull is dispensed
with at seven years old, having sired three years’ crops of calves ; so that
he may not mate with his own progeny, the first of which are now
coming to service.
Under reasonably good grazing conditions, heifers will take the bull
at three years old, and so calve before the age of four : instances of earlier
calving, under favourable conditions, are not rare ; but under hard
conditions, heifers will not calve until considerably later.
Cows of certain strains in the herd, mainly in cattle of Settled Fulani,
under good grazing conditions, will calve regularly each year ; under
hard conditions, cows not infrequently go up to two years between
calvings, especially among the red longhorn type, which requires
extensive range if the cattle are to do well.
Among cattle kept alongside the large rivers and on their islands
(for example, the Niger), and in marshes where there is a good supply
of lush grass for the greater part of the year, early maturity is obtained :
but the cows soon go off, and are finished with when still relatively
young, as a rule ; liver-flukes and other parasites taking their toll.
Such cattle may spend much of their grazing time standing in water.
Cattle of certain types kept in arid areas, which are frequently watered
from wells only, once daily, at about midday, if introduced temporarily
into river areas, are still kept to the uplands grazing of dry grasses, but
are taken down to water twice daily, at about 11 a.m. and mid-afternoon
(zura), the usual times for watering cattle where water is plentiful.
Endeavours are made to adapt cattle to a new environment by crossbreeding. As an example, some Fulani who arrived on the Niger in
Yauri Emirate, some thirty years ago, with the upland White Kano (or
Yakanaji) type, decided to spend the greater part of the year grazing the
marshes, and purchased red bulls of the local breed of the marshland :
they have obtained quick maturity, and cattle multiply at a quick rate ;
but are, however, of a nondescript type, mainly of broken colours, to
which the name 4 Gambaraji ’ has been given, and are poor milkers.
Other Fulani who arrived with them, and have retained the ‘ Yakanaji ’
type fairly pure, spend less time in the marshes, withdrawing at the
early rains, and have the better type of cattle, and better milkers ; but
do not get the quick increase.
Another small party which I noticed a few years ago were ‘ adapting ’
their cattle to conditions on the Niger, West of Nigeria, in Dahomey ;
purchasing red bulls for mating with their ‘ Yakanaji ’ cows : at the same
time they were trying to introduce a characteristic of the red longhorn
type— that of following the herdsman when on trek, whereas their own
cattle have to be urged on from behind. Since most of them are now
back within the western borders of Nigeria, they do not appear to have
had much success in attaining the former object. I have not been able
to observe as to the latter.
Salt-licks, for which certain areas are noted, are valued ; while
prepared native salts are extensively used for cattle, chiefly the white
natron (kamva ndaneha). Some types, salts such as ‘ mangul ’ (manda
baleha) — given as a lick or in water where no ‘ kanwa ’ is available ; and
‘ Foga ’ (included in the red type, manda mbodeha); are given very
sparingly, as they are known to be harmful otherwise. Also used is the
s‘\ t ^alma ’ (of the red type, manda mbodeha), if there is no ‘ kanwa
ndtaneha ’ available. Common togged salt of European make has been
Used to a considerable extent. The natrons and salts are used most
extensively from before the middle of the rains until harvest time, and,
nowadays, after anti-Rinderpest inoculation.
Marking of cattle, when they are calves, is done by making a slit in
*he ear> ^ cutting a section out, or by cutting a hole through it with a
nue ( jelgol): branding with a hot-iron is used by some (jelgol chumal).
firing, or marking the skin with a hot-iron, is used extensively ;
in circles to limit sites of inflammation, swellings, etc., or in lines or
patterns as a remedy against various conditions, such as Streptothricosis
Apart from the major cattle diseases, a large number of minor
sicknesses are recognised, and remedies applied : the names of these
sicknesses vary somewhat according to district or tribe.
De-ticking is recognized as a very necessary measure : a precaution
against tick-borne diseases.

Where a herdsman is employed, he is provided with clothing and
sandals, mod and drink : having completed twelve months grazing, he
is entitled to a one-year-old bull for grazing up to thirty head (an owner
who is well pleased might give a two-year-old) : a one-year-old heifer for
heraing rrom thirty to sixty head : if he is able to look after up to 100
head without their proving too much for him, a three-year-old heifer
Grazing of the cattle may be undertaken in rotation, over a period of
seven days, by Settled Fulani, when herds of, say, three small owners
may be united and grazed by one herdsman, enabling the others to
engage in other work, such as cultivation.
Calves do not go out with the herd ; but spend the day in the vicinity
of the camp. By the bigger owners they are not considered as part of
the herd until old enough to go out grazing with the older cattle, since
they are, as yet, too young to be reckoned as being of any practical value.
The cattle resting-place is situated West of the shelters or huts, the
doorways to which normally face West. But if a farm is to be manured
lound about the camp or dwelling-place, the cattle are moved round at
intervals to accomplish this.
Cattle-fouled areas are avoided when selecting a site for a camp,
except that land under cultivation may carry cattle year after year for a
period sufficient to manure it, when subsequent cultivation again
freshens the area for cattle.
A smudge-fire is lighted for the returning cattle, in the evening, at
their resting-place — the ‘ hoggo ’ or ‘walde’, the twigs of the shrub
Guiera senegalensis (geloki) being used as a rule for this purpose,
mainly to drive off and keep away flies, which otherwise torment the
cattle (though it is said that certain other twigs have other virtues when
burned). A fire is very usually kept up all night, partly as a protection
against wild beasts, for which a watch is kept — at least with half an eye.
At morning and evening, each calf is allowed to suck a little from its
dam, after which the calf is tied to the tethering rope and the dam
milked : having ‘ let down ’ her milk for the calf, the milking is now
easier, but if she is a ‘ difficult milker ’ the calf may be tied close to her,
or to her foreleg. After milking, the calf is allowed to suck again, thus
obtaining the richest milk, until the dam is milked out.
Nomadic Fulani, particularly, like to see a calf in good condition and
getting sufficient milk ; but it is said that a good state of health in the
dam is of more importance than the obtaining of a great quantity of
milk by the progeny, in the rearing of a good calf.
To stop calves sucking the dams when they get opportunity during
the day, which may happen in some herds, urine or dung is sometimes
rubbed onto the cows’ teats, but is washed off before milking time. A
muzzle with projecting long thorns is put on a calf to prevent the dam
allowing it to suck her when the calf has reached the weaning stage and
the cow has not dried off: naturally many calves are weaned through
the cow drying off. Sometimes a calf is allowed to continue to suck
until it is so large as to have to kneel in order to do so.
When a young calf dies, bran is given to the dam, as an inducement,
so that she may continue to be hand-milked : if she is intractable, some
Fulani flay the dead calf and dry the skin, which is put near the cow — so
that she may smell it — when it is desired to milk her.
Among the Nomadic Fulani, the women do the milking ; but among
many sections of the Settled Fulani, the men do all the milking — for
example, in ‘ Barno Nguddiri ’ (Hadejia, Katagum, Misau and Jama’ari).
The dairy work is in the hands of the women : they sour the milk,
prepare milk and butter for market, and take these products to the town
or village, sometimes from a considerable distance.
After milking, the milk is set aside for souring, which occurs naturally
in hot weather, but in cool weather is assisted by first swilling the
calabashes used for the souring process with a little of the previous day’s
sour butter-milk (njonkadam or pendidam) put by for the purpose
(often then called njuggam). This sours it quickly — otherwise, except
in hot weather, milk may not sour satisfactorily until after twenty-four
hours. Certain plants may be used to sour milk, for example, ‘ dalli ’
(Phoenix Reclinata ?).
When curdled, the milk is known as ‘ danidam ’ or ‘nyallunde’.
This ‘ danidam,’ the cream not having been removed, may be used for
whisking and mixing with other foods (it is then known as mburwadam
— from the verb wurwa, to whisk), or it may be kept to churn ; a
specially prepared large gourd, with a small calabash cap or cover, being
the usual churn, which is rocked to and fro on the ground.
It is a common practice, where undiscerning buyers of milk may be
imposed upon, to remove cream (for butter production) before the milk
is fully curdled ; after which another layer of cream will form, which is
left on the milk, giving it the appearance of whole-cream milk, and which
he undiscriminating purchaser may think composes the normal
consistency of whole sour milk ; the Fulani thus getting the benefit of
t e extra cream for butter production by selling the milk with hardly
any cream in it. J
Butter may be made by churning the whole of the sour milk (danidam),
as above, or by churning cream removed from the ‘danidam’.
from Kano, Katsina, Zaria and to the eastward, the whole milk
(aanidam) is churned. When churning is completed, the butter is
taken out, leaving sour butter-milk — known as ‘ njonkadam’, which is
turned out into a calabash : some then add a quantity of water before
taking it to market, in order to make more of it.
I he butter is formed into balls and put into some of this milk, in
which it floats, to keep it from softening or melting, and taken for sale.
In Sokoto Province, down to the Niger River, people will not buy
tms sour butter-milk (njonkadam) as they mistrust that water has been added to it before sale.
A form of fraud practised when butter is made in the above manner
(that is, frorn whole sour milk) is to continue to churn, after the butter
has broken ’ or formed, until the grains of butter collect into loosely
knit clusters or lumps, which are then made up into loose balls — the
lumps do not coalesce — and immersed in the butter-milk, some of which
the balls take up and, when they have remained for some time in the
milk, they have the appearance of being solid butter, but actually
contain a quantity of butter-milk. This, known as ‘belbel’, is a white butter.
Such fraud appears to be fairly successful when selling to those who
do not know on sight what good butter should be; but the seller’s
reputation is likely to become known and, if the market is full of butter,
she will have but a slow sale until the supply of good butter is exhausted!
An excuse made is th a t; “ The youngsters overchurned it.”
In Sokoto Province where, as has been mentioned, there is no sale for
sour butter-milk, it is the custom to make butter from cream taken off
the soured milk ‘ danidam ’, which cream may then be churned or
shaken in a bottle-gourd, or beaten up with a whisk in a calabash, either
daily or, where there are few milking-cows, every second or third day,
when the product of two or three days’ milk is mixed.
The skimmed sour milk (gulutche) is whisked and drunk with foods
(being somewhat like the sour butter-milk ‘njonkadam’ which it has
been noted the people of the area will not buy for fear it has been
Unknown to the many, a form of fraud is practised on them by adding
water to this ‘gulutche’. A little of the ‘gulutche’ is taken and
whisked, and a considerable quantity of water added to it, when it is
again whisked to an even consistency. The remainder of the good
gulutche ’ is divided into two portions, one part being put in the
bottom of the marketing calabash, the treated (watered) portion
following, and then the other part of the good ‘ gulutche ’ put on top.
Before arrival at the market, it has become well mixed and, should a
purchaser remark on the fact that it has become thin or watery, the
Fulani explains that it is owing to the distance she has had to walk.
A fraud practised with the butter made in the above manner is, after
churning and taking out the good butter produced, to take enough to
form a pat or ball, flatten it out and place some sour milk ‘ danidam 5
in the centre, and fold it so that the sour milk forms a core to the ball
(which may then be put in milk contained in a spoon or small calabash,
in which it is rolled with a rotary movement to remove any excessive
marks of tampering): and so on until all the pats are filled. This is a
butter of a good yellow appearance which, after washing and clarifying
by the purchaser, become very reduced in quantity.
Butter made from cream alone is not taken to market in the buttermilk ; but, in hot weather only, in order to keep it firm, is placed in a
calabash floated in a larger one containing milk for sale or water.
Butter made from cream collected over a period of two or three days,
where butter production is on a small scale ; or that made daily and
brought in only on a market-day, owing to distance ; may have a sour
or rancid taste, or smell, depending on the amount of milk remaining
in i t ; but since it is clarified by the purchaser as a rule, it is readily
Good fresh butter of a rich yellow colour may be bought, and needs
only washing, and salting to taste, to be very palatable for the table of
It appears to be an exception for the Nomadic Fulani to adulterate
Other forms of adulteration of sour butter-milk (njonkadam or
pendidam) include such as increasing the viscosity and acidity, and thus
allowing of the addition of water, by the use of the pulp from the fruits
of the baobab (njulandi) or the root of Vitis pallida (gubuwol).
The former method is used where milk is scarce in an area and the
people have no choice but to buy what is on offer, and if accusation of
such adulteration is made, it is admitted by the sellers ; “ So as to make
the milk go further. ” The latter method is used in order to give the
sour butter-milk the appearance and consistency of whole-cream sour
milk (mburwadam), with full intent to deceive purchasers: it will go bad
overnight. There are other modes of adulterating butter.
It used to be the general custom to wash butter as part of its preparation for m arket: nowadays, while some wash it before making it up into
pats or balls, a great many more do not.
While the majority of Fulani make butter from well soured milk,
many of the Nomadic Fulani make it from milk which has not completely
soured ; the churning of such milk producing a large proportion of
butter of good quality, though rather lacking in flavour ; but yielding a
high percentage of butter-fat when melted and all water has beep
When on the move, and there is no time for further preparation,
nomads put the fresh milk into stoppered bottle-gourds and place these
among the loads of the pack-oxen where, being shaken by the movements
of the animals, on arrival at their destination the butter will have
‘ broken ’ ; but the butter-milk, only half soured, is not palatable.
Where cash is obtained for the dairy products, it belongs to the
woman; the cattle-owner has no title to it. Cash from the sales is
expended in buying food for the household, chiefly corn (as noted,
dairy products are often bartered for farm produce): in the purchase of
clothes for the woman herself: in clothing for the young children
including some of the younger herding boys. If the woman sees her
way to so doing, she may also clothe some of the older herding boys.
Other expenditure is incurred on festive occasions or social gatherings.
It is rarely used to help the cattle-owner out in cattle-tax payment,
though this might be done as an act of grace by a wife who has had
(several) children by her husband. Otherwise, on a later occasion of a
tiff, a woman may make it a cause of scornful reproach that her husband
could not of himself pay the tax in full.
More probably, the husband will have to pay the tax on any cattle
which may be owned by his wife. The husband does not know the
amount of money obtained by his wife, the amounts expended, or the
amount she may put by. When dairy produce is short, he may have to
sell from the herd in order to tide over the period.
By custom, a husband informs his wife when he intends to sell or
buy stock, obtaining her views. To be morally valid, such sale or
purchase should have her approval.
Most Settled Fulani women and girls are able to, and do, spin and
prepare the cotton thread for weaving, to the benefit of their household
It used to be a general custom, still largely followed in ‘East Hausa’,
though I have not seen it in the Western Emirates, of non-Fulani
(habe) women to have stalls in the villages from which they retailed
the milk ‘ danidam ’ (but not the butter-milk ‘ njonkadam ’ or the
1 his ‘ danidam ’ was brought in by Fulani girls and young women ;
when the produce had been sold, the cash and the calabash of each
individual was handed back to her to take home. At the end of a week,
the older women would come in and give the milk-dealer a present for
her services.
Otherwise the Fulani women and girls retail the produce themselves.
When cattle were on the move at about harvest time in the more or
less trackless areas of bush, it was usual to break off branches at intervals
and leave them lying in the track, or knot together the heads of taller
grasses, to indicate the line of trek taken by the cattle, so that those who
had been in the town might easily follow to the new camping ground.
Soon after the commencement of the rains, the Fulani leave the dry
season grazing grounds and, following the spring of new grass, move
towards their wet season quarters, away from the marshlands to the
uplands — usually in a northerly direction. They will endeavour to
reach the selected area before the advent of cattle-tax on July 1st,
though many will not have settled down by that time.
At the wet season camp (dumirde), a zareba or kraal of tree branches,
within which the cattle spend the night, is constructed, with an extension
at one — the East — end where the herdsmen or owners and families
shelter, with a bar-way between it and the cattle enlcosure ; and a
further bar-way at the far end of the zareba through which the cattle
pass to and from grazing. It is not usual for the Nomadic Fulani to
make zarebas at other seasons of the year. Some Settled Fulani put
the cattle in a zareba throughout the hot season. Some types such as
the ‘ Wodabe 9shelter at all seasons under the protection of trees, their
coverings for themselves and loads being skins ; shelters of other types
being dispensed with. While the menfolk construct the wet season
camps, the women usually set up the temporary shelters used at other
Some hobble their cattle two and two at night all the year round :
some do not hobble their cattle. The hobbles are sometimes shown as
representing the number of adult cattle for tax counting.
The calves are secured to the calf-tethering line after having had their
allowance of milk from the dam.
The wet season camp is not broken until the harvest season after the
end of the rains — though this does not mean that bodies of cattle are
not moved about for various purposes during the rains. Cattle then
go at once into the guinea-corn farms, as soon as the crop is harvested,
for the ‘ stubble-grazing ’ (nyaile), the dry leafage and smaller shoots
of the corn being highly prized by the Fulani : in fact, with each Fulani
trying to get in before the other, the farmer has, at times, difficulty in
keeping cattle off until the crop is safe.
The cattle are now at the commencement of their move towards the
dry season grazing grounds : at this period the movement takes place by
slow stages, the object being to take advantage of as much guinea-corn
‘ stubble-grazing ’ as possible before passing on. Many Fulani make
for areas of extensive farming with this object in view.
The grasses of the upland areas will by now be ripening and drying
off, or quite dry, and in many areas will consist to a large extent of tall
stems, of great value for many purposes, but of little use to the cattleowners.
In many areas, grass burning by iiunters and others has now
commenced. The ‘ C ow ’ Fulani do little in the way of burning
grasses : should a man arrive in an area of dense grasses more than head
high, among which cattle have not previously made tracks and trodden
down, he will burn in order that the herd shall not divide up and the
cattle get lost. It is not unusual, when spending some time in one place,
to burn an area close to the camp in order that the calves — which do
not go out grazing with the herd — may have the benefit of nibbling at
the resultant light crop of fresh young grass that springs up.
By the time that the hot season of the year has arrived, most owners —
this does not include those nomads who are continually on the move —
will have chosen their grazing area for that period and will probably
remain there until after the first rains — chiefly about lakes, streams and
rivers, where grass will be most abundant. The dry season camp
(sedirde) is often made, where such a site is available, on a sandbank in
or by a river, clean and reasonably free from flies.
At the hottest period, just before the rains commence, grass and water
are often very short and, especially if the dry season be very hard and
prolonged, some cattle may die, and more may be lost after heavy rain
has fallen but the spring of young grass still remains scanty. Many herds
are in very lean condition, although, under favoured circumstances,
a number of owners appear to be remarkably successful in keeping up
the condition of their cattle. The types of grasses found on the heavy
lands which are flooded in the wet season yield an early, but rather
scanty growth of green herbage in this hottest season, especially where
the old grasses have been fired. The practice of some (Settled Fulani)
to burn the dry grasses of such areas is attributed by others to muddled
thinking, since, as nature’s time for it has not yet arrived, though the
young grasses do come through, they will not continue to grow, and may
even be withered up, and so set back, on account of being brought on
before their time : such grass burning originated among those who
graze their cattle in river valleys and flats of heavy lands, who burn the
areas round about them to obtain this scanty growth.
At the early rains, when flies become a greater nuisance, grass round
-about the camp, or where the cattle are grazing, is often fired so that it
continues to smoulder, being damp or partly green, and give off a
smoke which keeps the flies away : at this period, too, cattle have to be
moved away from certain marsh areas on account of the prevalence of
When the rains have set in, there is a surplus of grass, and the cattle
are considered to be soft in condition, although replete.
In general, the shorter grasses are preferred, most especially the short
grasses of hard clay soils and marsh areas.
Following the early rains, cattle feed on the plentiful spring of young
grasses (daye) until, when the bulrush-millet is nearly ripe and the
ground is full of w^ater, they have gradually gone onto the grass ‘ garlabal ’
(Fulani), ‘ karairayau ’, ‘ karan kabau etc. (Hausa), Andropogon
(Arthrolepis), which has been growing fast during this tim e; and continue
on this until the time of guniea-corn harvest. Cattle prefer this grass to
the others, which they eat only if ‘ garlabal ’ is not available. It is not
dried off by weather conditions until the coming of the dry, parching, hot
wind at that short inter-seasonal period (sollungo) when the guineacorn is ripe, just before the approach of the cold dry season. The
cattle then go onto the farm stubbles, eating the dry leaves (mbafu) of
the guinea-corn, the remains of bean haulm and the like, with wdiat
*morsollo ’ (F), ‘ harkiya ’ (H), Digitaria debilis ; ‘ saraji ’ (F), * burbuw a ’ or ‘ furei ’ (H.), Eragrotis tremula ; ‘ bulude ’ (F), ‘ kamsuwa *
(H.), Pennisetum pedicellatum and P. setosum, remain on the farms.
Later, when the abundance of farm stubble is reduced, the smaller
stalks and the softer parts of the larger guinea-corn stalks themselves
will be eaten. The peiod spent on the farms is prolonged as long as it
is useful, when cattle then go into bush and eat any type of the dried
grass which is palatable to them : the now dry but soft ‘ garlabal ’, and
‘ chelbi ’ (F.), ‘ datsi ’ (H.), Aristida Sieberiana ; ‘ bulude ’ from under
bushes : until, at the hot season or ‘ tornado season ’ just preceding the
rains, half their food may consist of the leaves of trees and shrubs.
After some six weeks of this dry grazing, the hot season will have
brought forth a light covering of young fresh grass (daye) in flats and
hollows, when cattle will cease to eat the dry grasses, and eat only green
leafage in addition to the succulent ‘ daye \
In pans of heavy soil where rainwater first lies, when situated about
ponds and lakes, a good growth of short grasses comes on before the
grass ‘ chelbi ’ does : in similar pans in uplands and hill country,
‘ chelbi ’ only is found.
During the period of the hot season, cattle are also grazed at night
where grazing is very short. In certain parts, for example, in Sokoto
country, it is the custom of many, from the time of harvest until the
early rains, to take the cattle out early in the morning to graze, and
return with them to the camp at about 9 to 10 a.m., where they remain
for a time, and then go out again until night : others practise this only
if grazing is very scanty.
In the rains, the cattle are not let out to graze until the dew has dried
off; neglect of this precaution leading to losses in cattle at the time of
harvest. After a night of rain, when no dew can have risen, the herd is
allowed to graze in the early morning ; but if there has been no rain,
when there will be dew, the cattle will be kept in the kraal until the dew
goes off (the cows being milked meanwhile).
A number of deaths during the early rains are said to be due to the fact
that, when rains have fallen, the cattle will not eat dried-up grasses, but
follow the spikes of new grass, with which, the spikes being short, they
take in a considerable quantity of earth.
Some say that feeding cattle on the leafage of lopped branches
towards the end of the dry season, though then putting the cattle into
good condition, leads to the occurrence of deaths among them in the
height of the wet season, and that it is preferable to seek the best
grazing available and let the cattle make the most of the dry grasses then
obtainable, even though this does entail some loss in condition.
Actually the grass Digitaria debilis is considered the best grass for all
types of livestock ; but it is chiefly to be found on farms. Next in value
are Pennisetum pedicellatum and Pennisetum setosum; Eragrostis
tremula ; then Thelepogon elegans, known by many of the Fulani by
its Kanuri name of ‘ kagarakagumji ’ (Hausa, datanniya).
‘ Burugu ’ (H.), (Panicum stagninum) is found as a river-grass by such
rivers as the Niger, about swamps, and in swampy streams ; but is not
general : it provides good fodder over a great part of the year for those
cattle which are grazed about such areas.
While the above-mentioned grasses are general to many parts, there
are, naturally, other areas to which, owing to variation in the flora, the
remarks cannot apply.
Very tall grasses are of no use to the cattle-man ; the tops of the
shorter, sweeter grasses, and the seeds in the heads — recognised by
the Fulani as good nourishment — being greatly preferred by the cattle.
When grazing is so scanty that leaves of trees are considered necessary
to supplement the feed, branches of certain trees are cut off for the
cattle to browse.
These include ‘ leggel bali ’, which ruminants will readily eat at any
time of the year, and is considered the best. Smaller specimens are
continually eaten down by wild, as well as domestic, ruminants.
Others include 4 kawohi ’ (F.), ‘ kawo ’ (H.), Afzelia africana ; ‘ ibbi
Ficus gnaphalocarpa ; ‘ shannehi ’, Ficus kawuri; the less general
‘ shanganehi \ Ficus iteophylla ; 4 golombi ’, Stereospermum Kunthianum — varying with the trees, useful for this purpose, found in the
In places, the pods of ‘ barkehi ’ (the Hausa kalgo), (Bauhinia
reticulata) are pounded and given — sometimes with bran and a little
powdered natron — to some of the older catle to tide them over a period
of shortage, lest they get so weak as to be unable to get up, or stand,
through lack of food.
The fact that little grass burning is done by Fulani has been mentioned.
Grass burning is started soon after the end of the rains by bowmen
seeking game, then by hunters with dogs driving game : large areas are
burnt in this manner. Later, farmers, in setting fire to scrub in order
to get ahead with breaking up more land, may lose control, and then
fire get out of hand, as may also happen in the case of honey seekers
when smoking the bees for wild honey in the hollow of a tree, or when
the dry wood is left smouldering and the tree finally falls among the
Especially where authorities have given instructions that grass
burning is an offence, it is a favourite trick of irresponsible persons
to throw a piece of smouldering dung among dry grasses some distance
off a path, so that by the time surrounding grasses have caught alight,
following the fire being blown into a flame by any breeze there may
happen to be, he may be perhaps three miles away from the scene.
A more elaborate plan is to take an old, hollow nut of the dum palm,
stuffed with dung pressed in through the opening and plugged with
a piece of rag. To this a light is applied, and the nut placed among
dry grasses : the dung, ignited by the rag, gives off a great heat while
smouldering and the nut, glowing as a tinder for a considerable period,
acts as a good delayed-action fuse, often used where regulations against
grass burning are rigorously pressed.