Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
Sallah celebration may have come and gone, but ram dealers are counting their losses. For them it is a festival that their hopes were dashed. They complained that sales were bleak and uninspiring.
With the relationship this festival shares with sacrifice of animals, especially rams, every part of Abuja was dotted with ram markets including Mabushi, Dutse, Kubwa Phase 2 Junction, Apo and Area 1. The rams were sold between N70,000 and N120,000.
Some of the buyers confessed that there were lots of rams but the traders doubled the prices. Abdullahi Usman a businessman from Kubwa lamented that rams were everywhere, but the prices were high: “I have visited different markets to see if I can get a ram for Sallah celebration but to no avail.
“The prices are too high despite the fact that there are lots of them in the market. The traders have doubled the prices forgetting that there is no money in circulation.”
Salami Adamu, a civil servant agreed: “The whole streets of Abuja have been painted with rams, You don’t need to go to the market before you buy any, but when you go close the prices will send you back. Most of us have been using our eyes to buy since our pocket cannot afford it.”
Shittu Muhammadu, also a civil servant, said: “Yes it is festival of sacrifice but it is not only ram that one need to buy, there are other necessities. If I use the whole money on ram, what about other things? I have been moving from one market to the other to see if I can get but not possible due to the price. I have made up my mind to wait till after the Sallah prayers then I will come for mine. Then, there will be no rush and the traders will be forced to lower their prices.”
Jemilu Musa agreed that the price is high but that he has gotten one. He added that though the prices are doubled what he bought last year, but he is not of the opinion that the traders caused it because everything is expensive.
Mustapha Hussein a ram seller in Dulse junction debunked the accusations by buyers that they are responsible for the high cost of the animals. He lamented that there is no much profit after transporting and carry out other expenditures on the animals to make such the stay healthy before selling:
“There is no much profit in this business neither did we double the prices because of the season. The cost of transportation and feeding is very high and we also vaccinate them, before you are done, you end up not getting anything responsible.”
Another seller, Sabo Maigida, blamed the high cost of the animals on the general economic hardship. He said everything is expensive there is no way rams won’t be expensive because the bleeders also sell them to meet other needs.
Our correspondent did not only stop at the ram markets but proceeded to the foodstuffs areas to check what the market is like. Some of the traders confessed that there is no much boom despite the fact that there is no relative increase in prices of foodstuffs like rice, beans, yams and others.