Hes and end­less eaten the no­mad’s camp

Daily Trust - - STAR FEATURE -

or terms for Rugga.In the north west, it is known as Hoggo or Hod­ddore. In the north east it takes the form of Walde or Welbe, while in the north cen­tral it is known as Hod­here.”

While agree­ing that there has been a marked de­cline in the num­ber of camps in the coun­try to­day, Dr. Baba adds “The word ruga is a Hausa word for Fu­lani en­camp­ment, es­pe­cially those of the no­madic Fu­lani. Among the Fulbe, there is no sin­gle word for ruga, the tem­po­rary en­camp­ment, be­cause the Fu­lani pas­toral con­cept of the camp,is dif­fer­ent from that of the Hausa.” But what are the rea­sons which ex­plain the col­lapse in the num­ber of camps to­day?

Epic col­lapse Oc­ca­sional con­flicts be­tween the Fu­lani and some of their neigh­bours, have col­lapsed the num­ber of camps. Mo­hammed Hus­saini says that the first Om­batse crises oc­curred in Nasarawa state in Jan­uary 2013, and it is an ex­am­ple of the sort of con­flict which can erode the camps. Ac­cord­ing to Hus­saini, who is the Nasarawa state Sec­re­tary, MACBAN, more than 200 no­mads were killed in the at­tack, while 10,000 cows were lost. He says that 2,000 camps were de­stroyed dur­ing the first at­tack. The sec­ond Om­batse crises started in Fadama Bauna lo­cated in Lafia east lo­cal gov­ern­ment. Over 40,000 no­mads were sacked dur­ing the vi­o­lence, 8,000 cows were lost and 2,000 camps were burnt down, Hus­saini tells me, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of de­stroyed camps dur­ing the crises to 4,000.

On the de­clin­ing num­ber of the camps, he says “First of all the pop­u­la­tion of camps in Nige­ria is re­duc­ing. This is due to eth­nic clashes and also as a re­sult of the out­break of dis­eases which make the no­mads to mi­grate all of a sud­den. When dis­eases af­fect our an­i­mals, the no­mads nor­mally flee from that place. They then set up a camp at the new des­ti­na­tion. But they don’t set up camp again and they now live be­neath a tree in the new lo­ca­tion. The no­mads move, but they won’t set up a camp again, and there are many of such no­mads who live to­day with their fam­i­lies un­der a tree.”

He com­ments on forces af­fect­ing the num­ber of camps “Another fac­tor which re­duces the pop­u­la­tion of the camp is cli­mate change. Peo­ple mi­grate from north to south as a re­sult of changes in the weather pat­tern, which some­times brings ex­ces­sive rain­fall all of a sud­den, or spells of dry­ness, and mi­gra­tion as a re­sult of this, nat­u­rally and in­evitably af­fects the camp. When there’s less rain, and no grass for the cows, the no­mads move south­wards or out of the coun­try.”

He states “There are fewer camps in north­ern Nige­ria to­day, and some no­mads have moved to Ghana, Togo and Benin. This move­ment is also as a re­sult of in­se­cu­rity in north­ern Nige­ria. For in­stance, you can­not sleep when you keep on hear­ing the sound of guns, and peo­ple will de­part to places of greater se­cu­rity.”

Next, he draws at­ten­tion to a prob­lem usu­ally no­ticed “Some of those liv­ing in camps don’t even have no­madic schools. The camp may have up to 2,000 per­sons liv­ing in it, but it may not have a no­madic school.” If the camps are de­stroyed, so much is im­me­di­ately lost among the no­mads, he seems to be say­ing.

Mo­male speaks on what is lost when a camp no longer ex­ists “First of all the foun­da­tion of Fulbe dis­ci­pline and cul­ture is the ba­sis of the ruga.One im­pli­ca­tion of the loss of the ruga is that this will af­fect cul­tural up­bring­ing, and lead to change of val­ues of Fulbe so­ci­ety, with im­pli­ca­tions for so­cial be­hav­iour, dis­ci­pline and en­ter­prise, es­pe­cially live­stock en­ter­prise. Then there is po­ten­tial re­duc­tion in the avail­able num­ber of cows in the coun­try, and this means that Nige­ria will de­pend on the im­por­ta­tion of live­stock and live­stock prod­ucts. Next, the op­por­tu­nity for de­vel­op­ment de­riv­ing from live­stock prod­ucts, such as dairy de­vel­op­ment and vet­eri­nary ser­vices would be lost or halted. Also, the her­itage of ru­ral ar­chi­tec­ture will van­ish with the dis­ap­pear­ance of the camp. UNESCO did some work on Fu­lani cul­ture some years ago, but noth­ing sim­i­lar to that ef­fort is be­ing done to­day by any group.”

Burnt down But let us turn to the field in Nasarawa state, and what do we find in parts of Lafia east, Nasarawa Eg­gon as well as Wamba lo­cal gov­ern­ments? Here are empty burnt out camps with black­ened walls, and these stretch as far as the eye can see, with a few sec­tions stand­ing like a phys­i­cal dirge. Maize fields have sprung up around the camp. In many places a cir­cle of burnt sticks in­di­cate that a camp once flour­ished at the spot. Al­to­gether, we vis­ited 30 burnt camps of the no­mads. A few no­mads gather to nar­rate their sto­ries. Jabo Ardo, a herder, is telling the story of how he, who used to live in a big camp, now lives be­neath a tree at Bakin Kogi, with his 2 wives and 10 chil­dren “In Au­gust last year the mili­tia burned my camp down. This oc­curred at 9.00 am. I was not at home, but my whole fam­ily ran away when they ar­rived. Now, we are liv­ing be­neath a tree at Bakin Kogi.”

nd cli­mate change, have pushed ps­ing its num­bers.

‘Those who con­struct the camps are los­ing their skills.’

Hus­saini: ‘4,000 camps were de­stroyed dur­ing the Om­batse crises.’

Maidubu: ‘We have lost all our camps.’

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