THIS year’s Eid-il-Kabir (Sallah) has come and gone. And as usual, it was celebrated across the country and beyond with the symbolic slaughtering of rams and few other animals in accordance with Islamic injunctions.
However, it is not business as usual this time around, for ram dealers throughout the country, especially Lagos as the poor economic situation in the country forced some faithful to celebrate the historic festival without the usual sacrifice of ram.
The scenario has really affected the income of those involved in the trade, mainly the northerners. And against their expectation, the demand for ram this year fell short of the supply, and this unavoidably forced the traders to dispose their rams at cheaper prices during Sallah compared to what obtained in 2014.
ENCOMIUM Weekly went round some parts of Lagos, and we confirmed that some rams are still being displayed for sale at market stands.
Some dealers we spoke to attributed the harsh economy and incessant killings in the north by Boko Haram insurgents. They all lamented poor patronage, but however, they believe things would be better next year.
According to Mallam Daudu Karakara from Jos, Plateau, the poor economic situation in the country has really affected the demand for ram in this year’s festival of sacrifice as many Muslims couldn’t afford to buy ram. And this unavoidably informed the decision by most ram sellers to reduce the prices by 20 per cent or more.
“Things are really hard this year, and it has affected those of us trading in ram, especially during the Sallah festival. The economy is poor. There is no money in circulation.
“I discovered that for over a week I brought rams to Lagos from Jos, I didn’t see up to 10 buyers until a few days to Sallah. And when I noticed that patronage was low, I had to call my boss in the north on what the situation was and he directed that I should reduce the price of each ram by at least 20 per cent which I did. It’s after that I started getting customers.
“Even at that, patronage wasn’t still all that encouraging compared to last year’s experience. The rams valued at N70,000 or more were sold for N50,000 or a little higher. The smallest ram in 2014 was sold at the rate of N35,000 few days to Sallah but it’s a different story this year as such a ram was sold just for N25,000.
“But now, we’re still selling but at a little higher prices because there are no rams in the north now. The problem in the north has destroyed the trade there. After we finish selling this batch, no ram again will be brought to Lagos until next year’s Sallah. But I am sure of selling all these rams you see before December, Insha Allah.”
Another ram dealer in Abattoir, Oko Oba, Agege, Mallam Ibrahim Muhammed also corroborated the earlier submission. He was, however, optimistic that things will be better next year.
“My brother, it’s true there was low patronage for ram this year, unlike what obtained last year when the prices of rams were almost doubled a day prior to Sallah because of high demand. The economic situation in the country really took its toll on our business this year.
“I am from Kano, I knew how much it cost to bring about 200 rams to Lagos. I was of the hope that I would sell everything, but to my shock, I only sold about 130 before Sallah, and at low prices. Many people wanted to buy rams but they couldn’t afford to pay the price. I had to reduce the prices having found out that most of my colleagues had slashed the prices of their rams by between 10 and 20 per cent. So, I had to follow suit because I realized it’s better to break even than to be at a total loss. But the compensation now is that people are buying the remaining I have at higher prices than what I sold during Sallah.
“The country is not smiling at all. The economic and security challenges had really affected every business in the country. But we hope that before 2016, the situation would have improved.”
Abu Musa Dan Sokoto also said, “I didn’t make enough profit from the business this year. But Alhamdullilah that I am alive. I believe things will pick up in 2016.
“I still have about seven left unsold. But I believe I will still sell them. I can’t take them back to Sokoto. People are still patronizing us. And I can’t even reduce the prices of the rams because everywhere is dry now in the North as far as animal rearing is concerned because of the fear of Boko Haram.”
- TADE ASIFAT