What we found at the Bobi reserve broke our hearts. This reserve, officially registered in court by the federal government, dedicated to the Fulani for grazing, has been sold off to farmers by the very agents placed to guard it. Of the 31,116 hectares of dedicated grazing land, 28,716 hectares have been sold to farmers, leaving the Fulani with 2,400 hectares for their cattle. That is .07% of the total grazing land.
What can we do about it? We can report it. On our first night here, we were invited to dinner by one very wealthy businessman. This businessman is very aware of the Bobi situation and has links straight to the state governor and the president himself. Once the report is finalized, and this will be not only a written report, but a true map of the reserve showing all GPS coordinates, and a satellite photo clearly revealing the nearly total encroachment of farmlands, I will go with this businessman and present it to those leaders who can rectify the situation. The businessman has promised this to me.
The farmers will not be thrown out on their ears, rather, they will be moved off the reserve and compensated for their losses.
In the meantime, the Fulani have been forced to move their large herds, keeping only a few around the house to provide milk for their children. The large herds are roaming about the country, searching for pasture and water.
So, our work at Bobi was to map the reserve. Chester did the mapping with the help of one old Fulani hunter's who has lived here all his life and knows the place like the back of his hand! It was grueling work, identifying the true boundaries, then the seven, inner, block boundaries, marking them then connecting the dots to form the true map.
On the last day, as Chester continued to map the western boundary, I went on the back of a motorcycle, at the Fulani’s request, to the east, to Kilishi, where over one hundred children awaited me, requesting a school. There has never been a school on this reserve. Never. Not one of the hundreds of children here has ever been to school. This is unacceptable. We will put two schools on this reserve, we have to: one on the eastern border and one to the west.
We found four non-functioning boreholes on the reserve which we will repair, and we will drill four new boreholes where there is no drinking water for the Fulani.
Up until now, all the Fulani have been drinking water from the same watering holes as the cattle.
So, we have now completed the water survey of three reserves – Bobi, Kachia and Garbagal, and today are on our way back to Kaduna to work up the reports. On Wednesday, I’ll escort Chester and Bill back to Lagos and onto their flight back to the U.S. I give all the honor and glory to God for the completion of this big work - for our good health, for safety on the roads, for the amazing team God gave us for the job!
So thankful for Chester, for Bill, for Haruna, (friend, helper, Fulani translator,) Aliu, (long-time borehole driller for us,) Danjuma, (great driver,) and the two police officers who guarded us.
Thanks to all of you, as well, who were holding us in your thoughts!