By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
…Traders Lament Low Patronage
Some residents of Zaria metropolis have decried hike in prices of rams and other livestock as Muslim faithful prepare for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, reports Alexander Johnson Adejoh.
Eid-el-Kabir is an annual event observed by Muslim faithful in which they sacrifice rams, sheep, cows and other livestock, in accordance with the Quran.
The Eid celebration is marked on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijja in the 12th month of the Islamic Calendar (Hijra). It was celebrated last Thursday and Friday.
A check by Fides at Samaru and Bassawa livestock markets and other sales outlets in the metropolis indicated that prices shot up by over 40 per cent, as against what was obtainable within the same period in the past one year.
A small sized ram is sold for N25, 000 and a medium-sized one goes for N50, 000; while a well-bred ram attracts between N80, 000 and N150, 000, as against its previous prices of N15, 000; 30, 000 and N80, 000, respectively.
Also an average sheep costs N25, 000; while a big sized sheep goes for N40, 000, as against their old prices of N15, 000 and 30, 000, respectively.
Cattle also indicated a similar increase in prices amid high patronage for the animals during the festive season, Fides observed.
An average cow is sold for N100, 000 and a well-bred bull costs as much as N300, 000.
Traders at the market who spoke to Fides attributed the hike to the increase in transport fares and animal feeds, owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Malam Abdullahi Sani, a ram dealer at Bassawa Livestock Market, said that prices were up due to the high cost of transportation and animal feeds.
Sani noted that the animals were being transported to the markets from villages in Kaduna, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno and the Bauchi States, as well as the Niger Republic.
He said, ‘The animals are being supplied from neighbouring states. We spent a lot on transportation and animal feeds which result in the hike in prices.’
Another trader, Bello Mansir, who decried the poor market condition, expressed the hope that prices would go down in view of the expected increase in the supply of the animals.
‘We are not making good sales, we are hoping that the market condition will improve in the coming days. Sallah is Friday, and I have only sold a single ram which is an indication of poor patronage,’ he lamented.
However, Dr Hussain Yakubu, a resident and lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Zaria, blamed the traders for the hike in prices.
Dr Yakubu said he bought a ram at the cost of N45, 000 which caused a heavy drain in his pockets.
‘I bought the same size of ram for N25, 000 during the previous festive season. The traders are taking advantage of the coronavirus and festivities to exploit buyers,’ he said.
Another resident, Alhaji Suleiman Jaja, lamented that most families in the area could not afford to slaughter rams this season due to the exorbitant prices.
Jaja called on the traders to reduce prices to enable the faithful to celebrate the Eid in a happy mood, noting that he could afford one ram for his family but he was sure that so many families could not stand what he termed unnecessary hike in price.