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The Fulani, also called the Fula people, have their roots in the Northern part of Africa, the Middle East and West Africa. Here are some facts about the Fulani tribe that you might not know.

Their Population

The Fulani are about 25 million people, making them one of the largest tribes in West Africa. This group of people have presence in Nigeria, of first mention, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, the Gambia, Liberia, Egypt, Sierra Leone and Niger. However, they have the highest population in Nigeria, being about 7.6 million in number. An interesting fact is that, they are usually in the majority in almost all the countries where they live. The few countries where they are in the minority are Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Guinea.

Some Fulani descendants are resident in the United States

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, many Fulanis were taken captive to be slaves in the America. A large number was captured from Senegal and Guinea, and a lesser percentage from Mali and Cameroon. Some of the captives were Salih Bilali, Abdulrahman Ibrahim, Bilali Muhammad, amongst others. The descendants of Bilali Muhammad still live on Sapelo Island, Georgia and Lucayan Archipelago.

The Fulani tribe has sub-groups 

What other proof do we need to regard the Fulani people as a major tribe? Just like the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo tribes, the Fulani people also have sub-groups. The main Fulani sub-groups are:
  • Fulbe Adamawa: present in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, and Sudan.
  • Fulbe Mbororo: present in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, Niger, and Gabon.
  • Fulbe Bagirmi: present in Chad and Central African Republic.
  • Fulbe Sokoto: present in only Nigeria and Niger.
  • Fulbe Gombe: present only in Nigeria.
  • Fulbe Borgu: present in Nigeria, Togo, and Benin.
  • Fulbe Jelgooji: present in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
  • Fulbe Massina: present only in Ghana and Mali.
  • Fulbe Nioro: present in Mali, Senegal, and Mauritania.
  • Fulbe Futa Jallon: present in Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone.
  • Fulbe Futa Tooro: present in Senegal and Mauritania.
  • Fulbe Fuladu: present in Senegal, Guinea Bissau, and Gambia.
Typically, the groups have similar culture, beliefs, customs and dialectal variety across nations.

Notable Fulas

There are notable Fulanis. Among them are:
  • Usman Dan Fodio from Sokoto, Abdullahi Dan-Fodio
  • Muhammed Bello (second Sultan of Sokoto)
  • Ahmadu Bello (former Premier of Northern Region of Nigeria)
  • Atiku Abubakar (former Vice President of Nigeria)
  • Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (former President of Central Bank of Nigeria; current Emir of Kano)
  • Ibrahim Gambari (former Minister of Foreign Affairs)
  • Shehu Shagari (former President of Nigeria)
  • Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo (Secretary General of OPEC)
  • Amina Mohammed (Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations)
  • Late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (former President of Nigeria)
  • The current President Mohammadu Buhari
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This article was first published on 29th March 2018

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