Muslims groan over hike in prices of rams

BY ADERONKE ADEYERI
Eid-el-kabir, the festival of ram sacrifice is an act of Ibadah
(worship) to Almighty Allah and presently, the mood is felt
almost everywhere. As a result, prices of sacrificial animals
have gone up in major markets in the country.
A visit to Mangoro cattle market, Onipetesi cattle market in
Agege and Alagutan cattle market in Iyanu Ipaja, Lagos
revealed about 80 – 100 percent increase. A small ram in
these markets goes for N25,000, as against N15,000 during
the same period last year, a smaller ram goes for N60,000
as against N48, 000 while a big ram is sold for as much as
N180,000 and N200,000 now.
Some of the buyers
expressed
dissatisfaction with
the high prices of
the rams in the
markets, adding
that prevailing
economic recession
in the country was
responsible for the
increase.
“Although the
sellers have their
reasons for the high prices, they have to consider the
purchasing power of an average income earner, people are
only trying to fulfil their religious obligations,” Alh. Bashir
Kolawole said.
Lukman, a buyer at the cattle market, said he had visited
many ram markets but couldn’t buy any because of the high
cost, adding that the price of a ram this year is high. “Many
buyers cannot buy and they go home disappointed. I am
appealing to the government to look into the problem or
else many Muslims will not be able to slaughter rams during
this Eid-el-Kabir,” he said.
Another buyer who pleaded anonymity said every thing in
the country is falling apart. “I do not know what the country
is turning into. Our income is going down day by day but the
prices of commodities are increasing on daily basis. Nothing
seems right in Nigeria, many of us has to cut our pocket to
serve Almighty Allah in our own little way. Seriously, things
are falling apart in Nigeria.”
However, Mallam Ibrahim Bilal, a native of Gumburu in
Borno who sells ram at Mangoro ram market in Agege
attributed insurgency as major cause for the increase this
year. “I have been into the business of rams for thirteen
years. I buy rams from Ugum village in Maiduguri. But early
this year some gun men suspected to Boko Haram came
into the market and killed almost all of us, since then I get
rams from Niger and Chad. Bringing rams from these
countries can be very expensive due to transporting the
rams down to Lagos.
Also, the police officers and customs officers collect a huge
amount of money from me and all these put together are
reasons for the hike in the prices of rams compared to last
year. We dont even make enough gain as we used to
because people who used to buy up to four rams now buy
one or two.”
Mallam Mairago Lati, who sells ram at Onipetesi ram
market, Agege opined politicians and the wealthy buy
animals in bulk for distribution to political associates,
supporters and relatives and as such sellers like to sell to
them instead of coming to the market.
“The dealers and people bringing the animals always keep
the prices high in anticipation of those buyers, who always
come to buy hundreds of rams from the markets especially
at the last two to three days before the Sallah day,” he said.
A visit to motor parks around Lagos also revealed that many
travellers also pay more to get to their destination.
The fare from Iyanu Ipaja to Ago Iwoye which was N800 per
passenger before the Sallah festival, now goes for N1,200
per passenger, while transportation from Lagos to Ilorin has
increased by 100 per cent.
Abubakar Idris, a commercial bus driver defended the
increase in the cost of transportation during festive periods,
blaming it on bad roads and traffic gridlock.

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