As Muslim faithful settle down to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Kabir tomorrow, prices of foodstuffs and rams have increased steeply in some markets due to high demand from residents.
The price of different sizes of livestock in many markets in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nasarawa State surged ahead of the upcoming Sallah celebration.
Apart from their high cost, there was also low patronage across the markets visited.
A check at the livestock markets in Wuse, Karu, Nyanya and Mararaba showed that in spite of the increase in the price of all sizes of live chickens, there was more patronage.
However, at Zuba, Lugbe and Nyanya markets; Kugbo Ram Market and ram depot in Mararaba, there was an increase in price of ram this year compared to what it was in 2017.
A small ram at Kugbo Ram Market that was sold for N30, 00 in 2017 is now selling for between N40,000 and N 45,000, depending on the buyer’s bargaining power.
At the Zuba ram depot, a medium ram that was sold few days back for N40,000, is now selling for between N60, 000 and N65, 000, while a big ram is selling for between N80, 000 and N150,000, depending on the size.
A visit to most of the ram markets showed that even though the prices of the animals had increased by between 20 per cent and 40 per cent, compared with the range in the same period in 2017, the animals were not available compared to the previous year.
The price of cow was also on the increase as a small cow that was sold for N80, 000 two weeks ago is now selling for N120, 000.
In Niger State, an average bull at Suleja market is N140,000, while a thorough-bred bull attracts as much as N200,000 as against its old price of between N120,000 and 150,000.
The price of chickens had also increased across the markets visited, with the price now pegged at between N3, 500 to N5,000, just as there is no more chicken selling below N3,000.
At Nyanya market in the FCT, there were chickens selling as high as N3,500, N4000 and N5,000 depending on the size, an indication that the prices had increased by 30 to 40 per cent.
It was gathered that the increase in the prices of chicken was not because of the celebration, but rather as a result of the high cost of animal feeds among other things.
Also, many poultry farmers that were affected by the previous outbreak of avian influenza have moved to other businesses because they have not been able to recover from the outbreak.
A ram seller from Yobe State, Malam Abdulmumin Dadinkowa, decried the cost of bringing ram down to Abuja, saying “ the cost of transportation is too high.”
He blamed banditry and insurgency in some areas of the country where they buy the ram, noting that the prevailing market situation and feeding of the ram had also contributed to the increase in prices as well.
Dadinkowa complained that because of the high cost of transporting the animals and other goods with trailer, “a load of the animals from Yobe State to Abuja had increased from N300,000 to N450, 000.”
He said the major problem is the transportation, which is what determines the landing cost.
The trader added that in most cases, the ram traders go to neighbouring countries like Niger Republic and Chad to buy the animals.
According to Dadinkowa, “to augment what is available we have to go to neighbouring countries, and before you can get enough you have to go into the interiors.
“Then the cost of bringing them down to Nigeria and the dues we pay at every check points all put together made them to be expensive”, he added.
A ram dealer from Borno, Malam Kudus Alliyu, lamented that the incessant attacks by the Boko Haram has forced many of the dealers out of the business.
He said most of the major routes traders used to ply to bring rams to the state have become death traps.
He pointed out that it takes courage to remain in the business because in most cases, while Boko Haram do attack them on the way from the market and cart away all their rams, some traders might even lose their lives in the process.
“Before our trading partners in Chad and the Republic of Niger use to bring the rams down to Nigeria but it is not visible now because of the security situation,” he added.
Mallam Audu Al’hassan, a ram seller at Mararaba ram depot, lamented the poor sales of ram attributing it to the poverty among the generality of the people.
He said in the last one week that he started selling rams, he has not sold up to 10 rams.
Al’hassan said it is not that there were no patronage but most customers cannot afford the price.
“By this time last year, I had sold many rams, but look at the day, now three days to Eid-el Kabir, I sold just 10. Most of the customers after telling them the price they will either go without buying or they choose to buy chicken”, he stated.
Mallam Abdullahi Alikali, another seller, said not minding the economic situation people are still making efforts to buy either goat or combine to share cow.
He, however, said that those making it now at the Nyaya market are the chicken sellers because they are making brisk businesses.
A Muslim, Alhaja Aolat Adamu, lamented that at the Zuba ram market, she cannot afford to buy ram she will rather prefer to buy small goat for her family to celebrate with.
Also, Mr Yusuf Fouad expressed the hope that the prices could crash after the Eid day.
He said since Islam permitted that three days after the Eid day one could still celebrate, he is still hoping to buy a ram to slaughter.
The price of various sizes of livestock in many markets in Nasarawa State, have also gone up ahead of tomorrow’s Ed-El-Kabir celebration.
Our correspondent who went round some markets in Lafia, the state capital reports that apart from their high cost, there was also low patronage across the markets visited.
LEADERSHIP checks revealed that in the two major markets in Lafia, in spite of the increase in the price of all sizes of live chickens, there was more patronage.
Further investigations showed that small ram at Lafia Ram Market that sold for N25,000 last year is now selling for between N30,000 and N 40,000, depending on the size.
A medium ram that was sold last Sallah for N40,000 is now selling for between N60,000 and N65,000, while a big ram is selling for between N80,000 and N150,000, depending on the size.
The price of cow was also on the increase as a small cow that was sold for N60,000 last year is now selling for N80,000 and N100,000.
In Jigawa State, the situation is not in any way different as the spokesman of Hadejia Animals Market, Abba Tagurza, yesterday attributed the high price of rams in the market to scarcity of the sacrificial animal.
Tagurza said the demand for rams in the market this season had increased tremendously.
He explained that aside those who buy rams for sacrifice during Eid el Kabir, victims of the recent rainstorm that claimed the lives of several animals in the area were patronizing the market in their numbers.
He said, “What we witness now is competition between those who want to buy for fattening, having lost their animals to the recent disaster, and those trying to buy for sacrifice.
“Usually, we source for rams from locals as well as from our associates in Niger Republic. We are now largely left with the foreign rams, which are in low quantity.
“This situation leads to scarcity of animals in the market and, of course, you know that whenever there is scarcity, prices increase”.
Tagurza said a big ram sold at less than N80, 000 in 2017 is now selling between N95, 000 and N100, 000.
He said that medium and small rams that went for N27, 000 and N12, 000 in 2017 now costs N40, 000 and N16, 000 respectively.
Similarly, the spokesman said the prices of cows had also increased as a big bull that was sold at N250,000 last year is now selling at N300, 000.
He said a medium bull now costs N150,000 as against N130, 000 it was sold last year, while a small bull that costs between N80, 000 and N90, 000 is now selling at N100,000.
A buyer, Yakubu Suleiman, said he planned to buy a big ram but could only pay for a medium one at N40, 000.
Zakari Gidado, also a buyer, said he managed to buy a small ram at N16, 000 because he could not afford a medium one.
In Kwara State, cross section of ram sellers in Ilorin yesterday lamented what they described as low patronage by customers.
Findings by LEADERSHIP at Mandate, Ipata market and other ram outlets in Ilorin indicated that ram prices shot up by about 50 per cent compared with what was obtainable last year.
An average ram now goes for N150,000 as against N100,000 last year, while a thoroughbred ram attracts as much as N200,000 as against its old price of N150,000.
A medium size ram goes for N30,00 as against the previous price of N15,000.
The price of sheep and goats also attracts increase as it was sold at N20,000 and N15,000 as against its previous price of N15,000 and N10,000
Some of the ram sellers who spoke with our correspondent said that the fact that they traveled to far North to buy the animals, blaming the hike on ram price on exorbitant transportation fare occasioned by bad road.
The ram sellers said that some of the animals supplied were even imported from Chad and Niger Republics.
A ram seller, Alhaji Isiaka Sani said, “We have started experiencing low patronage due to the economic meltdown but we are optimistic that things will change gradually.”
In Kaduna State, as the Eid-el-Kabir celebration draws closer, residents of Kaduna metropolis trooped out in their numbers apparently taking advantage of the weekend to make last minutes purchases.
Prices of rams and foodstuffs have continued to fluctuate according to some of those who spoke to our correspondent at the Abubakar Gumi Central market.
Although some of them lamented the harsh economic situation in the country, they said they were unable to make purchases during the week in view of their work schedules, hence they have decided to use the weekend to purchase whatever they could afford to celebrate the sallah with family and friends.
A devout Muslim, Hajiya Maryam Abdulsalam, said, “I came to buy some few things ahead of the Sallah whoch will take place on Tuesday, I could not do so during the week because of my work schedules, so I decided to come today being friday, meanwhile, prices of things have gone high but am trying to buy what I can afford”.
She stressed however that prices of some items have remained the same, while some others have gone up, adding that rice that sold before now for N15,000 sells for between N16,500 to N17,000.
Some of the ram sellers lamented low patronage, adding that they have slightly reduced the prices of the ram in view of the hard times. “inspite of the reduction in prices, the patronage has been rather poor” one of the sellers stressed.
Our Correspondent reports that an average ram sells for between N30,000 and N35,000 while fairly bigger ones sell for between N40,000, N45,000 and above.
In Zaria, ram sellers have continued to groan over low patronage and sales, even as ram markets in different locations of the city are experiencing low turnout of customers.
A ram seller at Veterinary, Kofar Doka, Malam Nasiru Aliyu, lamented that people only came to enquire about the prices without buying.
He attributed the low patronage to lack of money and non-payment of August workers’ salaries by the state government.
Another ram seller at Tudun Wada, Malam Isyaku Muhammad, said that the prices of the rams range between N25,000 to N125,000.
On his part, Alhaji Datti Mai-Rago at Yan Azara market, Tudun Wada, lamented the low sales but expressed optimism that the market would pick up, noting that some prefer to buy “a day to or on Sallah day’’.
However, Malam Ali Gwamnati, a ram seller at ‘Yan Awaki expressed satisfaction with the level of patronage but complained that the ram were not many compared to last year.
Reacting to the low patronage, a prospective buyer, Malam Nuhu Muhammad-Tukur bemoaned the exorbitant prices when compared to previous years.
Muhammad-Tukur attributed the development to low supply of the animals as a result of many factors, especially civil unrest in the Northeast and Northwest of the country.
He said, “People are willing to buy but high cost of ram had become a source of concern to customers. Again, the rams are not supplied in large quantity as before.
“This can be attributed to so many factors such as civil unrest in some places like Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto states as well as Niger Republic.
“All these places used to be major suppliers of the ram on annual basis, but as it is today, most of the villagers of these areas have now become refugees in other places”.
In Kano, some cattle dealers who had stocked domestic animals such as goats, rams and cows for sale ahead of Sallah are complaining of low patronage.
Some of them who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Kano lamented that their hopes for brisk business had been dashed as a result of the poor state of the nation’s economy.
Malam Ali Sani, a dealer at Yan-awaki market in Kumbotso local government Area, said they had been forced by the situation to be selling some of the rams on credit due to slow pace of business.
Another livestock seller, Haladu Yusuf, in Gama cattle market of Nasarawa local government area in Kano, lamented the situation and attributed the development to non-payment of salaries by many employers, resulting in low purchasing power of potential customers
He said although similar development was experienced the previous years, that of 2018 is the worst.
A livestock dealer in Tarauni cattle market, Malam Sani Ali, also said business was not moving as expected as the biggest ram cost about N110, 000, while the smallest was N30, 000.
Saidu Bako, a dealer, also said that it might not be possible to get huge returns from the business this year due to low sales, but expressed hope that the situation might change.
“People are coming to buy rams and goats; some came in groups and bought cows to be shared among themselves.
“By this time last year, I had sold about over 45 rams few days to Sallah, but as I am talking to you now, I have only sold 15,” he lamented.
Tajudeen Sule, a buyer at Yan-awaki cattle market, said he was at the market for the second day but could not afford the price.
“I was here on Saturday but I cannot buy because the same size I bought last year at N30,000 is being sold for N40,000. I am here today prepared to see that I get one,” he said.
Another buyer, Garba Dauda, expressed hope that the prices would fall when more rams flood the markets between today and tomorrow.
He said that medium and big rams now sell at higher prices compared to last year.
Several rams were seen being dragged about in Kano metropolis by sellers, who were also seeking potential buyers.
Eid- el-Kabir is a festival celebrated annually by Muslims worldwide, with the offering of rams as sacrifice.
Pilgrims Converge On Mount Arafat
Meanwhile, nearly two million Muslims have gathered in the vast Saudi plain of Mount Arafat for the most important ritual of the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage that re-enacts the actions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the fifth pillar of the Islamic faith.
Worshippers from all over the world, including 55,000 Nigerians pilgrims, converged at the 70-metre hill at sunrise yesterday, some 15km from Mecca, for “wukuf”, a high point of the Hajj, which all pilgrims must attend in the mid-afternoon.
Wearing two white, unstitched pieces of cloth for men known as the “ihram”, and any loose-fitting clothing for women, the pilgrims climbed steps built into the hill where the Prophet Muhammad gave his final sermon.
In what looked like an unbroken sea of white, the pilgrims marched to the top, reciting prayers with their palms facing the sky in supplication, and many with tears in their eyes, in an effort to start a new, erase past sins and beg God for forgiveness and guidance in the peak day of the Hajj pilgrimage.
Meanwhile, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has warned Nigerian pilgrims to refrain from displaying political banners and posters in Muna and Arafat during 2018 Hajj.
The chairman of the commission, Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, stated this during a pre-Arafat meeting with Nigerian Hajj stakeholders in Makkah.
“Don’t paste or hang any banner that is political in nature. There should be no picture of any individual inside or outside our tents,” the chairman said.
The NAHCON boss said Saudi Arabian authorities do not accept any politicking during Hajj.
Nigerian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Justice Muhammad Dodo, also urged Nigerian pilgrims to pray for their country.
“We have no alternative than to pray for our country,” the envoy said, noting that Nigeria is facing lots of challenges of insecurity, among others, which makes praying for the country more than expedient.
“We are going for elections next year; let’s pray to God to enable us have peaceful elections,” Ambassador Dodo said.
IGP Deploys AIG, CPs Nationwide
Meanwhile, to ensure a hitch-free celebration, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, has directed the implementation of robust and elaborate security arrangements throughout the country by the assistant inspectors-general of police and commissioners of police in zonal and state commands nationwide.
Force PRO, Jimoh Moshood, said they are to be on ground to beef up security, carry out massive deployment of police personnel on police visibility patrols, crowd controls, and adequate protection and safety at all Eid praying grounds and other venues of celebration in their areas of responsibility.
The deployment of additional personnel and crime prevention and detection equipment will be carried out to cover identified and perceived criminal black spots, flash points, and abandoned or uncompleted project sites being used as hideouts by criminal elements to.
Moshood also explained that “the ongoing raid operations and removal of suspected criminals will continue throughout the Sallah period and beyond.
“The deployment will also cover recreation centres, public places and critical infrastructure and public utilities.
“Federal highway patrol teams, the Safer Highway patrol Units, and Anti-Crime patrols have been deployed along highways and major roads throughout the country for the protection and safety of travellers, commuters and other road users during the period and beyond.
“They are under strict instructions to be civil, polite, compassionate and firm in carrying out their duties.
“Intense surveillance/Intelligence gathering will be maintained, special deployment and stop and search duties will be emplaced at all flash/vulnerable points in every state of the country.”
The Nigeria Police Force also implored members of the public, especially travellers and other roads users, to cooperate with police personnel deployed on the highways and other duty posts.
The Inspector General of Police has wished the Muslim faithful and other Nigerians a happy Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
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