Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, it was a happy time for ram sellers during the just-concluded Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.
Many were those that smiled to the banks, as they made bumper sales. Majority of them made 100 per cent sales, while a few among them made about 95 per cent sales. Most of the sales were recorded on the eve of the sallah and in the morning of the annual festival.
This was discovered during a recent visit by Daily Sun to four ram markets and one cow market in Ibadan after the festival. The markets visited include Ifelagba Abe-Bridge in Bashorun, Elewi-Odo, Yoruba and Hausa Ram Market at Iwo Road, and Bodija.
The ram sellers, who complained that they sold at a loss in the previous years because supply was more than demand, said people bought rams at very cheap prices then. According to them, the majority of people that bought rams last year and two years ago for the festival, bought at very cheap prices on the eve and morning of the festival.
But the situation was not the same this year, as those that stormed ram markets on the eve and morning of the festival bought rams at exorbitant prices. The ram sellers said the demand for ram during this year’s festival highly surpassed the supply to Ibadan, from the Northern parts of the country, as well as from countries like Chad, Niger, Senegal and Mali.
One of the ram sellers at Ifelagba Abe-Bridge in Bashorun, Momodu Bashiru, said: “We had up to 500 goats and rams in this market two days to the festival. Out of them, the ones we did not sell are six. But the live ram that we sold for N25, 000 two days to sallah jumped to N40, 000 on sallah eve and between N45, 000 and N50, 000 in the morning of the sallah day.
“They are expensive because we brought them to Ibadan from very far places, such as Niger, Senegal and Mali. The big rams that we sold for N60, 000 two days to sallah also jumped to between N70,000 and N75,000 on sallah eve and morning. If we compared what we sold last year to what we sold this year, definitely we made more sales this year than last year. We sell rams and goats. So, the remaining ones, we shall sell them because this is what we do.”
Pa Abdul-rahman Adekola also explained that the people that went to Ifelagba Abe-Bridge in Bashorun to buy rams on Wednesday and Thursday morning bought them at cheap prices.
He said: “The rams that were worth N50, 000, we sold them for N45, 000. We did this so that we could sell all the rams and goats we have in the market so that we would not run into debt the way it happened last year and two years ago. We had expected that after slaughtering of rams on the festival day, the prices of rams and goats would come down ridiculously.
“But we did not know that many people were waiting till sallah eve and morning for them to buy the rams at cheap prices. So, many people came out in large numbers on the eve and morning of the festival. So, those that we sold for previously for less than the actual amount we should sell them, we then increased their prices so that we could make our money back. So, those that we had earlier sold for N45, 000, we sold them for N50, 000 and N55, 000 on the eve and in the morning of sallah. I had about 40 rams and goats before sallah, and I sold all of them. We made more sales this year than last year. But the rams and goats that were brought to Ibadan this year were fewer than those that we received last year.”
Alhaji Taiwo Oduola, who sells rams at Yoruba and Hausa Ram Market at Iwo Road, also told Daily Sun: “It is true that rams were more expensive during this year’s sallah than last year. But we sellers are not wicked. We factored the cost of buying the rams by ourselves within Nigeria and outside the country, and the cost of transporting them to Ibadan into the amount we placed on each ram and goat.
“Last year, the cost of transporting a trailer-load of rams to Ibadan ranged between N350, 000 and N500, 000, depending on the distance. For instance, the cost of transportation from Maiduguri in Borno State to Ibadan was N450, 000. If it is from Kano, it is between N280, 000 and N300, 000. But this year, the cost of transporting a trailer-load of rams and goats was not that expensive. The cost from Kano to Ibadan this year ranged from N240, 000 to N250, 000.
“But, we did not get all the rams in Nigeria. We got majority from Chad, Mali, Senegal and Niger Republic. Another area that people should also consider is that we pay taxes in every state that we pass through in the cause of transporting the rams to Ibadan. Officials of different states would collect varying amounts as taxes. Apart from Oyo State, where we pay N20, 000 revenue to the government before we would be allowed to enter, other states would collect either N14, 000 or N15, 000 from us.
“Before the festival, I had 60 rams, and I have sold all of them. But I sold 18 in the morning of sallah day. My colleagues that still have a few that they did not sell will sell after the festival. But the rams and goats would not be expensive then. But those that came from the northern part of this country purposely to sell rams, we have sn agreement with them. Those that they did not sell, they would sell cheaply to us that are established sellers in Ibadan and we will also re-sell them. They would not take them back to the north. But this year, those that usually come twice or once in a year, sold all the rams and goats they brought and they have returned to the north in the evening of the sallah day.”
Among all the Hausa ram sellers at the Yoruba and Hausa Ram Market at Iwo Road, only Alhaji Bello Ibrahim, agreed to speak with this reporter. He stated that he had 236 rams before the festival and he sold 235 among them. “I have only one left now. People come to buy well well,” he said in Pidgin English.”
Mr. Kazeem Adeyemi is a cow seller at Bodija Market. He told the reporter: “Every year in this cattle market, we usually take delivery of more than 25 trailers of cows. But this year, only 13 trailers came. The COVID-19 pandemic really affected the number of cows that came to Ibadan. But people came out in large numbers and bought cows. About four and three days to the festival, there were not much sales. But a day to the festival and in the morning of the festival, people trooped to Bodija Market and bought live cows.
“Before the festival, I had 17 cows. But a day to the festival and on the festival day, I sold 16 of them. But cows were very expensive. On the eve of the festival, I sold seven cows and in the morning of the festival, I sold nine cows. If cows had come in the way they were brought to this market last year and two years ago, they would not have been so expensive. But a cow that we sold for N140, 000 last year, went for N170, 000 this year. A colleague of mine that brought 40 cows also sold 31 of them, with nine remaining. I will sell the only one I have and he too will sell the remaining nine.”
The submission of the general secretary of a group of ram and goat sellers at Bodija 30-30 Market, Lateef Oyetola-Yusuf, who doubles as the treasurer of live ram and goat sellers in Oyo State, was not different from what members of his association had said. But he appealed to the state government to assist members of the association with loans, with interest that would not be killing. He added that majority of them usually take loans with killing interest rates.
He also advised the state government to patronise the association during festivals for supply of live rams and goats. He regretted that government officials have not been patronising members of the association in this regard. He also said: “The state and local governments are making a lot of money from us. Apart from taxes that we pay before transporting the rams and goats to Ibadan, if you buy a ram or cow in this market, you must obtain two tickets. The first one is N100 for the state and the second one is N50 for the local government.
“So, our dear governor, Seyi Makinde, should please come to our aid with loans to boost our trade. We are appealing to him not to allow his administration to patronise those that usually bring rams to sell in Ibadan, once or twice a year. You can find them at Oremeji Under-Brigde by Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and at Aleshinloye.”
Mr. Rotimi Abiodun was sighted at Ifelagba Abe-Bridge in Bashorun Market, where he came to buy one goat. He said: “We bought ram on sallah day, but the meat was not enough. So, we also went to the market to buy a goat on the second day of sallah, since the meat from the one we bought earlier had finished. But rams are expensive. The ram that we used for sallah, we bought it for N29,000. But the goat that we bought on the second day of Sallah, was sold for N10, 000. If we wanted to buy the same on sallah eve or morning, it would have gone for N18, 000 or N19, 000.”