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  • Updated: June 15, 2024

Ram price humbles Salah celebration in Southwest, Northern regions dazzle with fair rates

Ram price humbles Salah celebration in Southwest, Northern r

Kehinde Ayanboade,

The celebration of Eid-ul-Adha, locally known as the Ileya festival, is expected to be more subdued this year due to a significant surge in the prices of rams and cows. This price hike is particularly affecting middle-class Nigerians, especially those in the Southwest region, leading them to approach the festivities more modestly.

Ram killing is one of the significant highlights of an Ileya Celebration. An average Muslim may believe that celebrating Eid without slaughtering a ram may subdue their rewards, a belief that may have to bow to the economic challenges battling Nigerians currently.

It is no longer news that the price of food and other essential commodities has surged in the country following the increase in the country’s inflation rate.


Inflation: Where Nigeria Stands

According to data gathered from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria has marked the 18th consecutive month of acceleration in inflation, partly because of renewed weakness in the naira coupled with the removal of fuel subsidies.

Nigeria’s headline inflation rate continued to climb to 33.69% in April 2024, its highest since March 1996, up from 33.2% in the prior month of March.

Food inflation, which accounts for the bulk of Nigeria's inflation basket, soared to 40.5% in April, compared to March's reading of 40%. Additional upward pressure came mostly from prices of housing & utilities (28.8% vs 27.6%) and transportation (25.4% vs 25.5%), attributed to the recent increase in electricity tariffs and fuels.

The annual core inflation rate, which excludes farm produce and energy, jumped to a fresh record high of 26.8% in April. On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose by 2.29% in April, easing from a 3.02% surge in the previous month.

This sad development has in turn affected the mood of religious festival celebrations. Allnews.ng, in a past report during the last Eid-Fitri and Easter celebration, gave situation reports on how people had no choice but to approach the festival moderately.


Eid-ul-Adha: What and Why?

Eid-ul-Adha, also known as Eid al-Kabir or the "Festival of Sacrifice," is a major Islamic holiday that commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail in obedience to God, who intervened and provided a ram instead. This event, symbolizing devotion and submission to God's will, is observed on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and coincides with the culmination of the Hajj pilgrimage, one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

The celebration of Eid Kabir involves several important rituals, including the sacrificial slaughter of a sheep, goat, cow, or camel by those who can afford it. The meat is then divided into three parts: one third for the family, one third for relatives and friends, and one third for the less fortunate, emphasizing charity and community. The day begins with special prayer services at mosques or outdoor grounds, followed by communal meals, family gatherings, and acts of giving, reflecting the holiday's themes of gratitude, faith, and solidarity.

Humility Meets Festivity in Oyo, Other Southwest States

Submitting to the reality of the ravaging economic situation, the residents of southwest states including Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, and Ondo may be left with no choice considering the price of rams.

A market survey in major ram markets in Oyo state revealed that the price of ram surged by about 100% to 150% compared to what Muslim faithfuls used to experience years ago.

A survey at Bodija Ram Market in Ibadan North Local Government of Ibadan, Oyo State capital revealed that Muslim faithful in the market with less than 230,000 may have to succumb to patronizing Red Sokoto goat meat (Misoro, Alake goat).

A Hausa ram seller who can simply be identified as Shehu, in a price negotiation, started from the range of 220,000 to 230,000 for a relatively small ram that is averagely fed. He went as far as 400,000 for rams that are not extraordinarily big in size.

Asked if there are smaller sizes that can go as low as 150,000, the Hausa seller replied in negation. He had earlier lamented low patronage, adding that Ibadan Muslims are yet to come out en masse to patronize as they used to do.

Lagos

Residents of Lagos have reported the highest amount for rams. This writer did a survey of ram prices in the mainland part of Lagos and got feedback that rams sold for as much as 700,000 to 900,000, considering the size.

One Ladoja Sodiq, in a chat with this writer, noted that he personally bought a ram for the rate of 700,000, which he sent to relatives in Ibadan.

Sodiq said, “Got a 700k ruder from Lagos and sent to Ibadan, it is very big but there are some of the rams that are bigger. This means with my 700k I couldn’t go home with the biggest ram in the market, some are 900k - 1m plus, I had to settle for that because at some point I was like Abeg it’s ok like that”.

An eyewitness, Azeez, said, “I witnessed right in front of my office here in Lagos yesterday, someone bought 4 big rams for 600k each. Big rams start from ₦450k to ₦500k”.

Ilorin

One Olanrewaju Monday from Ilorin, capital city of Kwara State, noted that prices of ram in the state, despite being part of the North Central geopolitical zone, sell for around 150,000 to 200,000 for a moderate-sized ram.

Monday said, “At Ilorin today, I was in between the conversation I have with someone less than 2 hours. He said the red one which doesn't weigh much is going for 150k now and another one better is 200k above.

“I am not sure if he's exaggerating but I'm convinced he's not because it was reiterated over and over in the conversation.“

Kogi, Other Northern States Enjoy Proximity, Flaunt Fair Rates

In a twist of events, Muslim faithfuls residing in the Northern part of the country are getting rams at relatively fair prices. This writer could not really ascertain a specific metric to measure the rate at which rams have surged in this region, but the price seems low compared to Southwestern states.

A resident of Kogi told this writer that Rams still sell as low as 75,000 for those that are not too small.

Amira Abdullahi noted that in her negotiation with ram sellers on Wednesday, rams in the Okumi-Banda Ram market sell between 75,000 to 200,000 for the biggest size.

Amirah noted that her negotiation didn’t go as far as the lowest noting that a good negotiator may still get less than 70,000.

Kano

One Muhammed Farydah noted that price increments may occur as the significant Islamic celebration approached. Farydah told this writer that someone got a ram on Monday for 70,000 adding that a ram of a similar size was bought for 120,000  and above today.

Keffi, Nasarawa

Umar Onana told this writer that rams are being sold between the range of 90,000 to 120,000 in Keffi part of Nasarawa.

Sokoto

Adams AbdulRasheed noted that the price of rams in villages may differ from what can be bought in metropolitan areas.

Adams noted that rams are sold for 90,000 to 120,000 in villages but can be bought for 150,000 to 180,000 in urban areas.

The lower prices of rams in the northern part of the country can be attributed to the region's prominence in cattle and ram rearing.

Red Sokoto Goat: A Realistic Alternative

Red Sokoto goats, also known as Maradi goats, are a medium-sized popular breed in northern Nigeria. This year, with the surge in ram prices across Nigeria, especially in the Southwest, Red Sokoto goats have become a more affordable alternative for the Sallah celebration.

Their availability and lower cost compared to rams make them a practical option for families looking to observe the Eid-ul-Adha festivities without straining their budgets. As a result, many middle-class Nigerians are turning to Red Sokoto goats to fulfill their sacrificial obligations during this important religious holiday.

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