Cattle Rearing Is More Profitable Than Education – Fulani Herdsman
Fulani, a tribe in Nigeria, is well known for cattle rearing. The people, known as Fulanis, are often perceived as wanderers. They roam from one place to another in search of green pastures for their cattle. But they mostly settle in rural areas- living there for a while before migrating to another and this varies base on climate and weather condition. Their favourite weather is rainy season because the greenery enabled by the rain means their cattle can have adequate food and water. However, as a result of the nomadic nature of these “cattle rearers”, they lack access to formal education. But do they have interest in learning?
Rural Reporter, Zirra, recently posed this question at some Fulani herdsmen in Sabon-Tasha area of southern Kaduna. One of them, Adamu, responded in Hausa, “kiwo tafi mana boko ama bamu ki ba.” This means, “cattle rearing is better than education but we still do not refuse education.”
Adamu is fair-skin and lanky. Dressed in a traditional Kaftan, weaved cap and rubber shoes, he smiled as he shared his opinion about the Fulani culture.
The Fulanis believe rearing cattle is a culture passed down from one generation to another. According to Adamu, cattle is their wealth, the kind of wealth an educated man cannot possess. Thus, education is of less value to them because their wealth can equally take them to higher places.
He said that the Fulanis believe education will expose them to a “wild life” because they have seen some educated Fulanis forget their way of life and origin as a result of acquiring formal education.
Fulani girls are often limited to Islamic schools where they learn mostly about religion and the Qur’an after which they are given out for marriage as early as 13 years of age.
Adamu says their culture protect girls from western education because when a Fulani girl becomes educated, she wants more education and in the process refuses to marry any of the herdsmen or settle in the village.
Fulani herdsmen believe there is nothing to gain from education as they already have the wealth (cattles) they desire.
“Education has no significance,” Adamu says in Hausa. It is not beneficial but if his children want education, he won’t deny them the right to go to school, he said.
Adamu condemned the recent kidnapping of over 200 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno state. He considered it unethical for anyone to be forced against their will not to access education. To him, education is a thing of choice and not a necessity.