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Friday, 23 August 2019

THE DOCUMENTATION AND HISTORY OF FULANIS (PART ONE)

THE DOCUMENTATION AND HISTORY OF FULANIS (PART ONE)

Permit me to ask, what has really happened to our humanity that we have become so inhumane? Mary Wilson put it in another way, saying that “what makes us inhumane is inability to reason properly.”

Honestly speaking whenever I hear supposed reasonable people (Igbo politicians precisely the elites) in the likes of Dave Umahi support and defend Fulani people against his own people, I remember what mental deformity, lack of the knowledge of history and love of money could cause.

I wonder if Dave Umahi and his co-Eastern governors have forgotten how Hausa people were conquered by the Fulanis. Is it that they are shortsighted to see and remember that Fulanis are war mongers, who believe in conquering other people in what they call Jihad in Islamic term or holy war? Or is it that they prefer money rather than the well being of their people?

The Fulani sect has no positive description or good name as a sect. They can be best described with error or any erroneous connotation. The Fulanis (the Futajalons) are best described as satanic. The word Satan in Hebrew can easily be described as “adversary,” the Greek diabolos means “one who throws something across the path.” In India, Buddha called the devil “Mara,” which in Pali and Sanskrit means “killer.” With the above etymological explanation and meaning, you can then ask, who are the Fulanis? They are tagged 4th most notorious terrorists group in the world. Looking at what you hear about them of recent, you should be able to judge or make a conclusion about the sectarian/group of the people called Fulani and the best way to describe them.

There are innumerable names (and spellings of the names) used in other languages to refer to the Fule. Fulani in English is borrowed from the Hausa term Fula, from manding languages it's also used in English, and sometimes spelled Fulah or Foulah. Fula and Fulani are commonly used in English, including within Africa. The French borrowed the Wolof term Pël, which is variously spelled: Peul, Peulh, and even Peuhl. More recently the Fulfulde/Pulaar term Fule, which is a plural noun (singular, Pullo) has been adapted to English as Fulbe, which some people use. In Portuguese it’s Fula or Futafula.

The Fula people or Fulani or Fulany or Fulɓe (Fula: Fulɓe; French: Peul; Hausa: Fulani or Hilani; Portuguese: Fula; Wolof: Pël; Bambara: Fulaw), are one of the most populous ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, and are said to be presently in twenty countries stretching from Senegal in the West to Chad in the East, and even as far as Sudan and Ethiopia.

As an ethnic group, they are bound together by the Fula language and their Islamic religious affiliation, their history and their culture. They are known for traveling over great distances with their herds of cattle, the Fulani are actually not all nomads; a good fraction of them found in Nigeria live in permanent settlements. They speak the Fulfulde language although many have also taken up the Hausa language, which is widely spoken in Northern Nigeria.

Then, the Fulani tribe kept on migrating and spreading out over West Africa and even reached Central and East Africa. As they encountered new tribes, they conquered the less powerful ones and settled in the area.

It is also worth mentioning the fact that the tribe is divided into two main groups, the Fulani themselves living strictly with respect to their culture and the Mbororo or Wodaabe (singular: Bodaado) who are a small group of Fulani refusing Islam in their culture.

A significant proportion of the Fula – a third, or an estimated 7 to 8 million – are pastoralists, making them the ethnic group with the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world. The majority of the Fula ethnic group consisted of semi-sedentary people as well as sedentary settled farmers, artisans, merchants and nobility.

In North Africa they are found in Mauritania and Sudan, where they represent a small percentage of respectively the 10.6 million Mauritanian and the 37 million Sudanese. In West Africa, they are found in Nigeria, representing 9% of the 130 million people; in Niger, being 9% of a population of 10.6 million of the people; in Conakry Guinea, where they are majority in the society as representing as far as 40% of the population of 7.8 million people. Fulanis are also found in Benin, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Togo where they represent a very small part of the population and in Burkina Faso where they are 8% of the 12.6 million people. In Guinea Bissau, Fulbe represent 20% of the 1.3 million people, 17% of the 11.3 million people of Mali and 23.8% of the 10.6 people of Senegal.

Central African Fulbe are found in Cameroon (mostly in North Cameroon), representing 10 % of 16.2 million people, as well as in Central African Republic and in Chad where they represent a very small part of the population.

Finally, in East Africa, Fulanis reside in Eritrea where they represent as far as about 45% (1-2 million) of the population of 4.4 million people. Many Fulbes were taken captive to the Americas from the 16th through the 19th century as part of the Atlantic slave trade. They were largely captured from Senegal and Guinea, with a significant percentage also taken from Mali and Cameroon. Some Fulbes of note abducted into slavery were Bilali Muhammad, Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, Salih Bilali, Abdulrahman Ibrahim IbnSori, and Omar ibn Said. Some of Bilali Muhammad's known descendants still live on Sapelo Island, Georgia, United States, and he also left descendants in the Lucayan Archipelago. Abdul-Rahman and many others likewise, have many descendants across the Americas both as a result of their own destinations and as a consequence of continued trading in human life after initial abductions from Africa.

Written by Obulose Chidiebere N.

Edited by Peter Nonso Ikeh
For Family Writers Press International

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