Fulani, West Niger in Niger

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People Name: Fulani, West Niger
Country: Niger
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 674,000
World Population: 674,000
Primary Language: Fulfulde, Western Niger
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Fulani / Fulbe
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Some believe that the Fulani emigrated from the Middle East or northern Africa years ago in search of new grazing land for their cattle. Today, the Fulani occupy many parts of central and western Africa. They are grouped according to location, occupation and dialect. Some of the Fulani travel with their herds, others are settled, and some mix herding with farming.

Since all Fulani speak a Fulfulde dialect, this suggests that they adopted the language of the people they once conquered and continue to dominate, the Hausa of northern Nigeria. The Fulani are grouped and named according to their location, occupation and dialect of their widely spoken language. Accordingly, there are five major groups of Fulani: the Fula Toro, Fulakunda, Fulfulde, Fuuta Jalon, and Tukolor.

What Are Their Lives Like?

A man may have up to four wives if he can afford them. Families arrange marriages with Fulani girls marrying young. The Fulani live in small family units in temporary homes. Due to their semi-nomadic lifestyle most Fulani children do not attend school. Children spend their days working to support their families.

The number of cattle determines the wealth of a West Niger Fulani family. The Fulani roam the savannah to find grass and water for their cattle and try to avoid harmful insects. The West Niger Fulani are gradually losing their traditional grazing land. Local governments are encouraging the Fulani to settle in one place and take up agriculture. The Fulani resist change and wish maintain the life of their ancestors. Some Fulani are moving to cities hoping for a better life and educational opportunities for children. They often have to take menial jobs due to their lack of literacy and marketable skills. Some of them consider it shameful to work for others.

The West Niger Fulani are expected to follow a code of high moral behavior known as Pulaaku. Pulaaku extols virtues such as kindness, bravery, patience, tolerance, perseverance, honesty, diligence, generosity, and dignity. To be reserved is part of being dignified; thus, they are shy and modest in public. A mother does not show affection to her infant son. In fact, she never even calls her firstborn by his name all throughout his life.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The West Niger Fulani first accepted Islam in the eleventh century. Traditional Muslim beliefs, such as the nature of man and his destiny after death, play a significant role in the people's outlook on life. Muslim brotherhoods teach a mystical approach to Islam: the people seek closer relationships to God through rituals, prayer, and other techniques. However, Islam has not brought any major changes to West Niger Fulani attitudes toward spiritism and magic. The people still use charms, amulets, and witchcraft. The West Niger Fulani attribute supernatural powers to various Muslim clerics who practice divination, the use of supernatural powers.

What Are Their Needs?

Decreasing income from the sale of agricultural products, encroachment by the Sahara Desert on farmland, deforestation, and increasing population are resulting in extreme financial concerns for the West Niger Fulani. They are being pressured by governments to stop their traditional nomadic ways to take up settled farming. This is causing friction. Malaria and other infectious diseases inflict a heavy toll each year. Although there is some literacy among the aristocracy, most of the West Niger Fulani cannot read.

Islam has enormous penetration into every aspect of West Niger Fulani life. A somewhat isolated people with minimal exposure to other religious ideas, the West Niger Fulani view the world and gain their personal identities from their rigid beliefs in the Islamic family and community. They are extremely reluctant to leave the world they know.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to bless the West Niger Fulani with abundant rain for their cattle and crops as a testimony of his goodness, mercy and sovereignty.

Ask God to save key West Niger Fulani leaders who will share the love of Jesus with their own people.

Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will break up the spiritual soil through worship and intercession.

Pray for disciples who will make more disciples among the West Niger Fulani.

Pray the West Niger Fulani would be able to care adequately for their families and be led to be better prepared for the rapidly changing conditions of the 21st century.

Pray they would make schooling a priority for their children.

Text Source:   Joshua Project