Introduction / History
The Sokoto Fulani are a sub-group of the much larger Fulani tribe which is spread across much of West Africa. The Fulani live in northern Nigeria alongside the Hausa people. The Sokoto region, which lies in the far northern part of the country, houses some of the ruling class of the Fulani, known as the Toroobe. The Toroobe exercise authority and political power over the Hausa.
Many of the Sokoto Fulani have also spread into southern Niger. While some of the Fulani living in this area are educated aristocrats, others are Bororo, or semi-nomadic herdsmen (part-time shepherds, part-time farmers). The Sokoto Fulani are thus composed of the ruling class (Toroobe) and the semi-nomadic shepherds (Bororo). The area they occupy is open grassland with narrow forested zones. Camels, hyenas, lions, and giraffes inhabit this region. Though the temperatures are extremely hot during the day, they are much cooler at night.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The semi-nomadic Sokoto Fulani engage in some supplementary farming, along with animal breeding. Millet and other grains are their main crops. Milk, drunk fresh and as buttermilk, is their staple food, and meat is consumed only during ceremonial occasions. The cattle are herded by the men, although the women help with milking the cows. The women also make butter and cheese and do the trading at the markets. Among the Fulani, wealth is measured by the size of a family's herds.
The semi-nomadic Sokoto Fulani live in temporary settlements. During the harvest, the families live together in small huts that make up village compounds. Each compound is surrounded by the family's garden. During the dry season, the men leave their wives, children, the sick, and the elderly at home while they take their herds to better grazing grounds. Each village has a chief or headman to handle village affairs. Story-telling is a big part of the Fulani lifestyle. After the evening meals, the older men tell legends and folk stories to the younger men and women, who listen to every word in awe.
Because the Fulani often overgraze the land and do not use any crop rotation methods for farming, much of the vegetation in the area has become depleted. The oil palm however, has been carefully preserved, since these trees are valued for making wine, soap, wax, and baskets.
The settled Sokoto Fulani (the Toroobe, or ruling class) are an influential people who live in towns and cities. They are educated and dominate the leadership of Islam in the area. Many of them are government workers, tax collectors, or municipal rulers. Although they may own some cattle, their real interests lie in administration, law, religion, and education. Their children are encouraged to go to school and do well.
The settled Sokoto Fulani are a very intelligent people. In fact, the Sultan of Nigeria belongs to this ruling class. Because the Fulani were a moral, pious group who had an interest in learning, the duties of the Muslim church were passed to them, eventually making them the leaders of the Muslim faith. Mallams ("men of learning") are revered and treated with respect in their culture.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Sokoto Fulani of Niger are virtually all Muslim, strictly adhering to the moral codes of Islam. The genuinely godly among them strive to attain sanctity and, in turn, supernatural powers.
What Are Their Needs?
Very few Sokoto have converted to follow Christ. Much prayer is needed to loosen the hold that Islam has on their lives.
The dense population of various cities, including Sokoto, has created health problems for the Fulani, among other groups. This is primarily due to polluted water. Many have died from malaria and other water-carried diseases. Perhaps Christian doctors and nurses will have the greatest opportunity to minister to the Sokoto Fulani.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into Niger to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the Sokoto Fulani.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are currently focusing on the Sokoto Fulani.
* Pray that God will give the Sokoto Fulani believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise prayer teams who will begin breaking up the spiritual soil of Niger through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Sokoto Fulani church for the glory of His name!
|Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center|