By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
As Muslim faithful prepared to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir on Tuesday next week, ram dealers in Kwara State said there has been low patronage of rams, goats and cows among other animals used for the Islamic rite and festivity.
The dealers, who spoke with Westernpost Correspondent in Ilorin on Tuesday unanimously said the insecurity situation, economic meltdown, inter-tribal crises are factors responsible for the increase in prices resulting in the current low patronage being experienced this year.
They, however, appealed to the government at all levels, especially the Kwara State government to consider payment of July salary earliy to provide succour to Muslims who may want to purchase ram for the occasion.
A ram seller, Oniye Kamaldeen, said sales of ram has been low this year, a development he attributed to the economic meltdown in the country.
According to him, prices varied with goats going for between N20,000 and N100,000, while rams prices range between N40,000 and N380,000
Ram that was sold for N20,000 last year, now goes for N40,000 due to the state of insecurity ravaging the country., he said
“Last year, we can go as far as Chad, Cameron and Benin Republic to buy rams, but I couldn’t make the journey this time around. Traveling within Nigeria is a nightmare.
“Imagine going to the market with N2,000,000 and you are kidnapped and the abductors demand for N200,000,000, where will that kind of ransom be produced.
“About 70% of rams sold in Kwara State this year are breed in the state. Though some took the risk to travel to purchase rams, but about 70% of us couldn’t make the journey. We believe the sales will change before Eid day.
“We just want to appeal to the government at all levels to consider the economic situation in the country.
“We want to appeal to the government to pay salary as Salah comes up on the 20th of this month, which means it’s not salary due date. But if the government can pay the salary on time, it will go a long way and bring about more merrier celebration,” he said
Another ram dealer, Alhaji Abdulwasiu Alata also lamented the poor sales, which he traced to the Yoruba/Hausa fracas and kidnapping.
He said that kidnapping discouraged ram dealers from travelling to avoid falling victims.
“The ram market has been dull due to the poor economic situation. This time last year,.the market had been bubbling. The rams are expensive this year. The rams we bought at the rate of N25,000 last year now goes for N40,000 this year,” he said.
He also appealed for early payment of July salary.
Moshood Ayinde, who has been a ram dealer for decades, on the other hand, expressed gratitude for the steady sales he has recorded so far.
He, however, prayed for increased patronage before Eid day.
“We thank God the sales has been steady, but the sales is not encouraging because there’s no money due to the economic situation in the country.
“Those patronising us are doing so to fulfill the commandment of Allah. Prices for rams rang from N28,000, N250,000 and N300,000, while goats range between N13,000 and N40,000
“I have been in the rams trading for more than forty years as it has been the business of our forefathers” he disclosed.
He expressed the hope that sales would improve before Eid the celebration day.
A ram buyer, Lanrewaju Akanni traced the high cost of rams to the insecurity situation in the country.
This, he said, has discouraged ram dealers from travelling to Niger Republic to buy at cheaper prices and in large quantity.