Barely two days to Eid-el-Kabir, ram sellers in Zaria, Kaduna State, are bemoaning low patronage, while some customers are lamenting over the exorbitant prices of rams.
The ram traders are still hopeful of an improved sales before the Sallah day.
Alhaji AbdulMuminu Alhassan, the Sarkin Turken Sarkin Zazzau, in Kofar Doka, Zaria, said that the level of patronage this year was very low compared to last year’s.
He attributed the low patronage to scarcity of funds in the hands of common people due to economic challenges.
Alhassan added that this year’s Eid-el-Kabir landed at the middle of the month when most faithful had spent their salaries to take care of their day-to-day problems.
He appealed to government at all levels to assist their people especially during important festive periods that fall at the middle of the month by paying half salary in advance.
He, however, said despite the economic situation some customers could still afford to buy the rams according to their financial capability.
The traditional ruler said with just N15,000 one could buy a ram to discharge the religious obligation, adding that small rams in the market cost about N15,000 while the biggest go for N120,000.
Alhassan, however, enjoined traders to be just and moderate in dealing with their customers to enable Muslims get the ram at relatively low prices.
Malam Aliyu Sani, a ram seller in Zaria city, attributed the low patronage to lack of vibrant economic activities in the country.
He urged Nigerians not to rely 100 percent on white-collar-jobs, advising that they should also engage in petty businesses that abound in their respective areas.
Sani said put the prices of the rams in that area at N25,000 to N90,000 depending on the size of the sacrificial animal.
Another ram seller at Tudun Wada, Malam Idris Ibrahim, called on prospective buyers not to panic but should go to the selling points to find out the actual prices themselves instead of depending on rumour.
He said that the prices were not extremely high and they may be able to afford it, adding that with N20,000 to N22,000 one would be able to discharge his religious obligation of offering a ram.
A ram seller at Queen FM selling point also said on anonymity that the patronage was generally very low compared to previous years.
He said the ram business was not as profitable as it used to be, saying that it is one of the reasons why many residents refused to engage in the business.
“Many have abandoned the business due to what is happening. This year, only those of us with large minds decided to try the business once again.
“Last year, many ram sellers had to take back their animals due to lack of patronage, however, we are hopeful this year will not be the same,” he said.
Meanwhile, some customers have decried the high cost of rams in most of the selling points, describing it as lack of contentment by the ram sellers.
Alhaji Aliyu Baban-Karfi, a customer, urged the traders to keep their prices moderate to give many people the opportunity to discharge their religious obligation.
Baban-Karfi, however, observed that many faithful do not buy ram early due to storage problem, saying that some people prefer to buy the ram on the Sallah day.
He noted the rams were very costly but hoped that the prices would gradually reduce, attributing the initial high cost in prices to payment of salaries at the end of the month.
Malam Mohammed Garba, a civil servant, said the prices of rams in some areas were above roof tops, saying many sellers are out to make huge profits at the expense of buyers.
“Many people are scared of going to the selling points because some of the sellers are just out to extort money from buyers.
“Some purchase the rams when the animals were very cheap only to come and triple the price at this festive period, this is not good for the society at all,” he said.