EletiofeMuslims lament price hike of Sallah rams, sellers bemoan...

Muslims lament price hike of Sallah rams, sellers bemoan low patronage


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As Muslim faithful prepare for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, price of rams and basic food commodities in various markets across Nigeria has led to widespread lamentation among Nigerians, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Different market surveys conducted by NAN correspondents in various states of the federation on Sunday, showed that the situation is similar in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Edo, Kaduna, and Borno.

Other states where traders and customers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the high prices include Yobe, Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, Bayelsa, Katsina, Lagos Oyo and Kwara

Muslim faithful traditionally sacrifice rams during the Eid-el-Kabir Festival, but the surveys revealed that the inflated prices made it more difficult for people to afford it.

Apart from price hike of rams, the rising costs of food commodities have also contributed to the financial burden faced by many Nigerians.

On the other hand, ram sellers are bemoaning low patronage despite the high prices which they attributed to the affordability issues faced by potential buyers that led to decreased demand.

The combination of increased prices and low patronage has created a challenging situation for both buyers and sellers, affecting the festive spirit surrounding the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

The price increase is also attributed to factors such as the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government; the high cost of transportation of goods from the hinterland to the cities; unavailability of cash in circulation; as well as inflation in the country.

Muriana Balogun, a ram seller in Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State, said sales had been low and not encouraging few days to Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

Balogun, who attributed the high cost of rams to subsidy removal, said that the prices of livestock were lower in 2022, compared to 2023.

“Now, prices of rams vary. Some go for 100,000, 250,000 and 320,000, respectively, depending on the size, while the least one is 50,000,” he said.

Abdullahi Abubakar, another ram seller at Shasha Market, Oba-Ile, Akure, still in Ondo, said that selling prices are determined by cost price and the cost of transportation from the Northern part of the country.

“It is not our fault; we are only selling based on the cost price of the rams we bought because transport fare is a bit higher now. People are not coming to buy like other years due to the price.

“We did not increase the prices arbitrarily. We are still hopeful that people will come to buy before Sallah,” Abubakar said.

However, some traders mentioned that prices had already gone up prior to the removal of fuel subsidy, attributing it to arbitrary increases by vendors rather than the fuel subsidy removal.

Muslim Adewale, also a ram seller in Ikare-Akoko, Ondo, said the price of ram was now almost double when compared to what it was sold in 2022. He, however, blamed some vendors for increasing the price arbitrarily.

Adewale, who said that subsidy removal should not result in high prices of food items, urged ram sellers, particularly those who are Muslims, to sell their animals at affordable cost during Eid-Kabir, as part of good deeds in seeking God’s blessings.

He said, “The size of ram I bought last year for 60,000 is now being sold between 95,000 and 110,000.

“I doubt if the high cost is due to the fuel subsidy removal. The cost of transporting a ram from Kano to Ikare cannot be more than ₦10,000. As at last year, it was between ₦5,000 and 7,000.

Also, Christiana Ologunde, a rice seller in the same market, stated that a 50kg bag of Nigerian rice was sold at ₦28,500 in 2022, while the 25kg bag was sold at ₦14,000, while same product is now sold for ₦36,000 and ₦19,000 respectively.

Ologunde, however, said that the fuel subsidy removal had no pronounced effect on the commodity, noting that ”prices had gone up before the fuel subsidy was removed”.

According to her, patronage for the product at the market had been low because of the frequent increase in prices.

In Ekiti, Alhaji Abubakar Meleh, who sells foodstuff and rams at Shasha Market in Ado-Ekiti, said a big ram was sold for ₦200,000 last year, but now ₦250,000 or more.

As it is currently, a medium sized ram is now 180,000, but was 120,000 last year, and small rams range between 50,000 and 100,000, depending on the size.

“We have limited stock of ram this year, compared to last year because there isn’t much money in circulation in the country.

“We are not expecting good profit this year because of low sales and high cost of transportation from the North,” Meleh said.

Also, Yomi Ayorinde, a frozen food seller in the same market, who said price of a carton of frozen fish had only increased slightly, noted that there would be a further increase in prices in few days because of the Sallah celebration.

Another trader, who sells yam at Okesa market, Aina Ogunyemi, said 100 tubers of yam was sold for ₦150,000, while five tubers of yam was sold for between ₦5,000 and ₦6,000 depending on the size of the yam.

She said yam was expensive now since the new yam was not yet abundant in the market.

A pepper seller, Elizabeth Olawale, said a basket of tomatoes was now between ₦58,000 to ₦60,000, as against ₦45,000.

“The small basket of hot pepper (scotch bonnet) that we were buying for ₦5,000 and ₦6,000 is now ₦10,000.

“Bawa (cayenne pepper) is now ₦30,000 a basket, as against ₦26,000 we used to buy it before,“ she said.

A vegetable oil seller, Alhaja Zekinat Ayoola, said a five-litre gallon of King’ s vegetable oil was now ₦15,000, while five litres of Golden Penny vegetable oil now cost ₦9,000.

Shoppers at some markets in Lagos State, which include Mile 12, Karu and Ajah, also expressed concerns over the astronomical increase in prices of foodstuff and animal proteins, describing the 2023 situation as the highest in the last seven years.

NAN reports that an average large size ram ranged from ₦150,000 to ₦600,000 against the ₦80,000 to ₦150,000 in the same period last year.

Cows ranged between ₦350,000 to ₦1,200,000 this year against the ₦250,000 to ₦600,000 in 2022.

Femi Odusanya, Spokesman, Mile 12 market, described the sales situation in the market as poor noting that the purchasing power of residents was almost nonexistent.

Odusanya said factors that contributed to the rising cost of foods include the increase in cost of premium motor spirit after the subsidy removal and poor investment in the agricultural value chain.

“Farmers and markets move goods with small trucks which are largely petrol powered instead of articulated vehicles.

“This is is so because many actors in the value chain do not have the financial capacity to buy diesel engined heavy trucks which ordinarily are cost effective for goods transportation.

“The inflationary cycle on goods and services is expected to continue due to the multiplier effects of fuel subsidy removal on the economy.

“Things are extremely expensive and government must do something about this particularly farm produce and stable farm commodities by investing heavily in the agriculture value chain to cushion the effects on poor Nigerians.

“If prices of agricultural goods and services are relatively stable; the people would appreciate it and be able to get the necessary nutrients they need instead of just barely surviving as they are currently doing,” he said.

Folakemi Fatunde, said the fear that accompanied shopping this year alone had resulted in High Blood pressure for her.

She noted that with every passing day, as the cost of basic food items continue to soar.

A trader at Ajah Market, Madam Loveth Nwokedi, noted that sales had dwindled badly as people only bought what they needed for the day against the usual bulk buying of before.

She stated that asides perishable food items, soup condiments, vegetables, palm oil and groundnut oil had also soared by over 50 per cent.

She urged government to focus on the poor this period by augmenting their source of income with the necessary palliatives and social services needed to improve the standard of living.

“The government needs to be more understanding with all these policies they are churning out as it seems they are not thinking of the ordinary Nigerian in all of these things they are doing,” she said.

The market survey also revealed that in Ilorin, markets along Fate Road and beside Shoprite show traders complaining about the low patronage.

“Then, as a result of the high level of patronage, we used to travel to the northern part of the country twice or thrice in the last few days to the Sallah celebration.

“But since we began Sallah sales two weeks ago, we have been selling only four to five animals daily. However, sales this week sale have been discouraging because we now hardly sell two animals in a day,” Omotosho Onimago, a ram seller said.

In Ibadan, at markets like the Bodija foodstuff market, Bodija Ram market and Sasa pepper market, as well as the Akinyele and Aleshinloye ram markets, the general complaint was that of how hard the times are.

One of the respondents, Aliu Sanda who said he was a herdsman said prices of cows had to go up because of the cost of transporting them from their places to town. Another ram seller, Muhammadu Kasim lamented the general hike in transport fares to corroborate Sandra’s argument, saying “this has made ram prices to be high”.

Alhaji Azeez Ademola, the chairman of Oyo State Onion Sellers Association, also said prices of onions have now gone up.

“The bigger bag of onions is now N35,000, while the medium bag is now N23,000 and the small bag N20,000. The increase in price of petrol did not help matters. Customers have been complaining about the prices and issue of no money,” he said.

It is the same situation in Ogun, with the prices of commodities in markets within the metropolis having soared in comparison with those of the previous year.

At the popular Kara ram market along the Lagos/Ibadan expressway, the normal hustle and bustle whenever the festival draws near is at a reduced state this year.

A ram dealer at the market, who identified himself simply as Muhammad, told NAN that ram prices rose sharply because the prices of other commodities had also gone up.

Muhammad added that the cost of animal feeds and their treatment when they fall sick had also increased, thereby affecting the prices of the rams.

The development was not different in Benin as residents in Benin, the Edo capital, have also lamented their inability to live within their earnings due to the recent hike in the price of fuel.

They expressed displeasure that the government did not make available palliative measures to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.

Peter Osagie, a small-scale soap manufacturer, told NAN that, though, the removal of the subsidy was a welcome development, the increment on fuel prices was outrageous.

“Nigerians, especially the common man has gone through a lot in this first half of the year. First, it was the cashless policy where people couldn’t access their own money in the banks for businesses transactions.

“Now, people can access their money in the bank, but they cannot buy what they want. It is a terrible situation. For us in the business sector, we are managing to survive, prices of raw materials have skyrocketed.

“The price of a 20-litre gallon of red oil we used to buy for about N20,000 last year has gone up to N23,000. The prices of other soap making ingredients have also gone up,” he said.

According to Favour Osaremen, a trader, the insecurity in some parts of the country has made prices of everything in the market to skyrocket.

“Nothing is cheap in the market again, Garri, common delight is no longer cheap in the market. A mudu of garri which was between 1,700 and 2,000 has gone up to 3,500 and 4,000. It’s also usually cheaper in the rainy season because the ground is now soft, making harvesting of tubers easy.

“However, due to the hike in fuel prices, the price of garri has gone up. There is high cost of transportation of cassava from the farm to the processing mill. The garri processing machine uses fuel, which is now expensive.

At Swali Ultra-Modern Market in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, small-sized rams are being sold from a range of ₦100,000 to ₦150,000, and medium sizes are sold within the range of ₦200,000 to ₦300,000, while the big-sized rams sell in the range of ₦350,000 to ₦450,000

Muhammad Usman, a ram dealer at the market, explained that apart from high transportation cost because of expenses such as diesel and the distance to Bayelsa, dealers incur expenses for the animal feeds and veterinary care when they fall sick, requiring injections and other medications.

Despite the high prices, the dealer noted that patronage has not been significantly affected, as some customers have already made advance payments for rams and plan to pick them up a day before their celebration.

Regarding other commodities like rice, Emma Chinedu, a dealer in rice and other items, said that the closure of the border led to reduction in importation of goods, therefore impacting the availability and pricing of certain products.

Also in Kaduna, Malam Abubakar Lawal, a ram seller, said, “a ram we bought at 40,000 in the village market last year is now 65,000, transportation has gone up as we now transport each ram at 2,500 as against 500 last year.

“We call on government to dole out empowerment programme that would cushion the effect of subsidy removal on the masses,” he said.

Similarly, Malam Dalhatu Tanimu, another ram seller, said that the ram prices had gone high but not as bad as assumed.

He said the difference between the previous year and this year was small, urging people to come and patronise them.

On his part, Malam Iro Liman, a food item seller, said a bag of beans cost ₦47,000 as against ₦42,000 it was sold last year, while a measure bowl (mudu) cost ₦700 against the previous ₦600.

Abdullahi Adamu, said, “the ram I bought last year at N65,000 is now N100,000 and I just have N70,000, so, I picked a smaller one.”

Another customer, Hajiya Hauwa Muhammad, said she bought a ram at ₦95,000 adding that the ram was not as big as the one she sacrificed last year.

In Gasau, Zamfara State, the cost of transportation has also risen, which adds to the overall selling price. Similar price increases were observed for rice, with a 50kg bag of Nigerian rice selling for ₦28,500 in 2022 and now priced at ₦36,000.

Ram sellers nearly doubled the price compared to the previous year, with some rams being sold between ₦95,000 and ₦110,000, up from ₦60,000.

He said the difference between the previous year and this year was small, urging people to come and patronise them.

On his part, Malam Iro Liman, food items seller said a bag of beans cost ₦47,000 as against ₦42,000 it was sold last year, while a measure bowl (mudu) cost ₦700 against the previous ₦600.

Different Ram sellers in Katsina State also expressed serious concern over what they described as low buyers of their animals compared to the previous years.

The ram sellers who expressed their worries attributed the situation to the removal of fuel subsidy.

Malam Abubakar Adamu, one of the ram sellers along IBB way in Katsina metropolis, said the prices of rams this year had doubled the prices they bought last year.

“Every year we normally travel to our neighboring Niger republic or to some villages around the border areas to buy the animals because they are affordable.

“But unfortunately, this year we really suffered, because the prices were almost triple the prices, we purchased last year. Just imagine when you add transportation.

“We have no other option than to sell them to at least get no matter how little the amount it’s, because we cannot sell them below the cost price.

“Honestly speaking, if I had known people will not buy, I wouldn’t have spent my money to go and bring the rams,” he added.

Ibrahim Mai-turaka, another ram seller around Modoji area also said he regretted buying the rams from neighbouring area because of low turnouts if customers.

Also disclosing to NAN, one of the ram buyers said the size of ram he priced at ₦70,000 last year, this year he was told that if he does not have ₦150,000 he can’t get it.

He further explained that while the size he priced at N100,000, worth over N200,000 this year.

Commenting on the development, economists told NAN that the removal of fuel subsidies and the subsequent price hikes could be addressed through price controls, incentives, and palliative measures by the government, to alleviate the burden on the populace.

Also, Prof. Philip Olomola, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), said government needed to roll out palliatives to cushion the effects of subsidy removal on the masses.

Omolola, an economist added that one of the proactive measures which the federal government could take was price control of food items and essential commodities.

He added that incentives like palliatives, should be given to Nigerians, while current minimum wage should be reviewed upward.

Omolola, however, called on the citizenry to exercise patience with the federal government, adding that all its policies would yield positive results in the long run.

Meanwhile, Waheed Saka, Director of Programmes, Center for Sustained Dialogue, said the current hike in prices of commodities could not only be attributed to the fuel subsidy removal, but also to high inflation in the country.

As part of the effort to alleviate the burden of price increase on citizens, Olusola Ajala, Chairman, Odi Olowo-Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos State, offered residents subsidised rams for Sallah.

The chairman said that the ram subsidy was to help Muslim residents buy the sacrificial animal to fulfil their religious obligation during Sallah.

Sokunbi Lawal, a resident who purchased one of the rams, expressed gratitude to the council boss for the subsidy.

“I saw the advert on social media yesterday and decided to give it a try and I am lucky to be among the beneficiaries,” he told NAN.

Another resident, Oluwaranti Adepoju, also beneficiary, said that “If not for him, I am not sure I will be able to buy ram with the exorbitant amount it is selling at the market,” she said.

Malam Abdulrofeeu Aderoju, Chairman, Working Committee for the Chief Imams, Imams and Alfas in the council, said he was happy to have benefited from the opportunity, saying, “the subsidises rams for Muslims during Sallah and does same for the Christians with subsidised Turkey and Chicken during the Christmas season.”

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