‘Low Patronage, Price Hike’ — Buyers Groan As Cost Of Rams Skyrocket Amid Sallah Preparation
In this year’s Eid-al-Adha, popularly known as Sallah, Muslim faithfuls are not ecstatic about shopping for rams amid the prevailing economic realities ushered in by recent government reforms.
Rams play a symbolic role during Sallah celebrations, transcending beyond the ‘festival of sacrifice’ — a major ritual among believers that requires the slaughtering of a ram.
For Muslims, Eid al-Adha commemorates prophet Ibrahim’s readiness to sacrifice his son in order to demonstrate his dedication to God.
The celebration is the second significant religious festival in Islam, with the first being Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
In Nigeria, owning a ram during this period adds to the mix of exciting activities as the animals sometimes provide entertainment in the form of ‘ram fights’ days before they are slaughtered.
These ‘ram sports’ usually attract a crowd of spectators similar to those found in actual sporting centres in some parts of the country.
But as prices continue to outpace disposable income following the removal of the petrol subsidy policy and reforms in the foreign exchange market, not all Nigerians will attract the spectacle of ‘owing victorious ram’ nor participate in the ‘festival of sacrifice’ this year.
Speaking with newsmen in various markets in Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja, traders and buyers shared unpalatable experiences as ram shopping took a different turn from previous years.
‘MARKET IS QUITE SLOW’
Abubakar Mohammed, a trader in Isheri, Kara market, Ogun state, said the level of patronage is low compared to last year, blaming “the lack of money” in Nigeria.
“The market is not active because people are not patronising, customers are little but we are praying to the Almighty Allah to make things better before the celebration. Due to the lack of money now in the country, it’s a bit poor,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed said patronage was so high last year that traders ran out of livestock, despite the surge in the prices of goods.
But this year, he said, the prices had to be brought down for sales to be made.
“The livestock we sell for the rate of N150,000 now goes for N100,000 or N110,000. Also, the cost of transportation is very high. So, we are trying to make sure we do our possible best so that our customers can celebrate this year’s Sallah,” he said.
The trader noted that transporting livestock from “Maduiguri to Lagos is now between ”N1.4 million to N1.5 million”.
Mallan Mohammed, another trader in the market, told newsmen that fuel cost has been a major hindrance to his business.
“Also, the cost of the feed is another thing to worry about. This year, a pack of food is between N9,000 and N8,000 but we bought these things for N3,000, N3,500 last year. The market sold out so quickly last year but we will keep praying that we have customers before the season ends.”
For Salisu in a market in Agege, the narrative is the same.
Unlike last year when traders were almost sold out before Sallah, he said, “we are still awaiting buyers” [as of Monday].
“We do not have the prices as high as before as we sell the least for N80,000, while the highest we have is about N150,000,” Salisu added.