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Muslims celebrate Sallah amid hike in food, ram prices 

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Ram Market in Gbagada.. yesterday. PHOTO: ENIOLA DANIEL

Notwithstanding the hike in the price of ram in the market, which has put the price out of the reach of many, Muslims in Nigeria will celebrate Eid-al Adha today.

Eid-al Adha, Arabic for Festival of the Sacrifice, is the latter of the two official holidays celebrated by Muslims.

Muslim faithful often mark the yearly ritual with slaughtering of rams in honour of Ibrahim, who was to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as an act of obedience to God’s command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, however, Allah provided a lamb for the sacrifice.

However, the hike in price of ram has made it difficult for many, who want to observe the yearly ritual.

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Some of them, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday, expressed concerns that a ram, which was sold for N35,000 last year, now goes between N70,000 and N90,000, while the one that sold for N50,000 is now sold for N150,000.

Also, a visit to the ram market in Gbagada, Lagos, a large size ram went for N600,000. Buyers also paid an additional N1,500 as agency fee before they could leave the market.

Welfare and Protocol Officer, Council of Alfas, Alhaji Monsu Atewolara, who was in the market said: “Last year, I bought a ram at the rate of N50,000, but they are selling the same size of ram now for N150, 000.

He complained about the gap in the price, saying, “it has limited the number of rams we want to buy for the celebration.”

He said: “I used to buy four rams and share with my neighbours, Muslims and Christians but now, I am buying one as I can’t afford the same number of rams.”

Atewolara, who is also the CDA chairman, Orile-Maroko, said they must celebrate even with the excruciating economy.

Speaking with The Guardian, the Chairman, Lagos State Ram Sellers Association, Abubakar Langa, said the hike in price was caused by corresponding hikes in other products in Nigeria.

He said: “I used to sell a big ram for N400,000 but I have to sell it for N600,000 this year because we are also affected.

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“I bought four of the big size and this is the last one and I am hoping a customer will pick it soon. It’s for big men and not everyone can afford it. Ram was cheap last year, but everything is on the increase. It’s not our fault; it’s also costly in the north. I have been in this business for 50 years and I don’t just increase unless the situation warrants it.”

Another seller, Alhaji Adebayo Nurudeen, said: “It’s not a funny situation. Last year, a buyer can get a big ram in a good condition at the rate of N30,000 and 35,000, but this year, the least price of a ram, between six and eight months, is N120,000 and N170,000 and we have rams of N350,000 and it’s not our fault. What we bought from the north determines the amount we can sell here. Moving the ram from the north is challenging. We spend a lot on security on the road, and we need to raise the prices to stay in business.

“Security in Nigeria is zero. We pay to move around. We get security men to guard us.

He added: “By this time last year, I had sold no fewer than 120 rams, but now, I have sold fewer than 60. But we are hopeful for a better turnaround.”

On his part, Head, Car Wash Ram Market, Onipetesi, Agege Motor Road, Hassan Abubakar, said: “Most of the rams here come from France, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. We convert our naira to Cefa before we make purchases over there. So, if you calculate it, you can see how much we are generating by the time we sell here. The one we bought for N50,000 last year is now N150,000. The one bought N25,000 last year is sold here for N45,000. Maiduguri is the largest supplier of rams, followed by Jigawa State. The Boko Haram crisis also affected supplies in Borno State. So, we now buy from Niger and bring them in through Jigawa State. Some buy from Chad, then go through Adamawa. We also factor the cost of transportation and other expenses.

He added: “Access routes to Borno and Jigawa are just two because of insecurity.

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He added: “Last year, this place was occupied with people coming in and going out with rams.”

Also, Babagana Haudu said he sold an average size of ram for N70,000 but this year, he was selling them for 120,000 each. Another reason the prices are high is because of bandits and kidnappers who have taken over parts of the country.

Another seller, Jubril Alamin, linked the hike in price to feeds. He said feeds of N3,500 or N4,000 now sell for N8,000 or N9,000 and it is difficult for the sellers to grow the feed in neighbouring states like Ogun or Oyo because of the weather.

“There are many rams imported from Chad and Niger. We call the rams Arara because they are not well fed like Nigerian animals. They don’t feed them the way we do in Nigeria. The rams are only fed with grasses, but in Nigeria, we give them wheat, maize and bean husks,” he said.

He stressed the need for government to protect farmers and cattle herders in the north.

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