Niger’s indigenous peoples are the Tuareg, Fulani and Toubou, all of them transhumant pastoralists. Niger’s total population was estimated at 14,693,110 in 2009; 8.5% of the population, or 1,248,914, were Fulani, 8.3% or 1,219,528 were Tuareg, and 1.5% of the population, or 220,397, were Toubou.
The Fulani can be further subdivided into the Tolèbé, the Gorgabé, the Djelgobé and the Bororo. They are mostly cattle and sheep herders although some of them have converted to agriculture since losing their livestock during the droughts. The Tuareg raise camels and goats and live in the north (Agadez and Tahoua) and west (Tillabéry) of the country. The Toubou are camel herders who live in the east of the country around Tesker (Zinder), N’guigmi (Diffa) and along the border with Libya (Bilma).
The June 2010 Constitution does not explicitly note the existence of indigenous peoples in Niger. Pastoralists’ rights are set out in the Pastoral Code, adopted in 2010. Most importantly, this Code includes an explicit recognition of mobility as a fundamental right, along with a ban on the privatisation of pastureland, which poses a threat to this mobility. A further important element in the Pastoral Code is the recognition of priority use rights in their pastoral homelands (terroirs d’attache). Niger has not signed ILO Convention 169 but did vote in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.