Stories from Rabia’tu (Lokoja), Ibraheem Hamza MUHAMMAD (Abuja), Saleh INUWA (Kano), Ahmed USMAN (Jalingo)
Eid-el-Adha is one of the two major festivals in Islam. Every year, the celebration takes place on the tenth day of Dhul Hijja, the twelfth month in the Islamic calendar. It is the second and biggest of the two main holidays celebrated in Islam.
The climax of the period is the slaughtering of rams, cows, sheep, or camels to demonstrate the giant strides and perseverance of Prophet Ibrahim and his son, Ismail.
When prophet Ibrahim had proved his willingness to follow the divine command of Allah, He Allah, sent him a ram to sacrifice instead. As a result, Muslims at Eid-el-Adha perform animal sacrifices to commemorate the legacy of Prophet Ibrahim.
The Chief Imam of Abocho central Mosque, Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State Sheikh Suleiman Dan-Tsofo, in a chat with Neptune Prime said Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son is seen as a great test of faith through which obedience to Allah and his commands are shown.
The Islamic scholar said Eid-el-Adha provides people the opportunity to honor the legacy of Prophet Ibrahim as a means to build interfaith connections with people of their faith.
“One of the basic lessons of Eid-el-Adha is patience as demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim by accepting the will of Allah.
“The act symbolizes the willingness of the son and the father to give up things that are of benefit to them or close to their hearts in order to abide by Allah’s command. It also represents their willingness to give up their happiness in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those in need” he stated.
Sheikh Suleiman added that for the non-Muslims, it is important to understand the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims has nothing to do with atoning for sins or using the blood to wash away sins.
The Islamic scholar added that it is stated in the Qur’an that “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, it’s their piety that reaches Him. Qur’an 22:37”.
But less than three days to this all-important celebration, prices of commodities especially the cost of rams, an animal recommended for all Muslims to slaughter during the celebration have increased beyond the reach of the average Nigerian citizen.
Plenty of animals with few buyers.
Regrettably, the rising spate of insecurity and the dwindling economy has however impacted negatively on the ram market as well as the purchasing power of the Muslim faithful. Market surveys conducted by Neptune Prime reporters across the country reveal that rams were available but with few buyers.
It was gathered that many customers passed through many hurdles before getting a ram for themselves as some even resorted to taking loans from banks, cooperative societies, and friends.
Prices of rams record a 100% increase in Abuja.
A market survey by Neptune Prime indicates that the price of a small ram is 70,000 Naira in most ram markets in Abuja. From Kuje to Gosa, Lugbe, Kubwa, Apo, Gwagwalada, Zuba, and Karmajiji, it’s the same story of the inflated cost of this all-important animal.
A ram dealer in Lugbe, Malam Faisal Kano said, “I used to travel from Abuja to Katsina to buy rams for years at a relatively cheap rate to convey to Abuja for profit, but the ram I use to buy at 50,000 Naira is now 100,000 Naira and so are the rates of small, medium and giant rams.
“A small ram now costs 70,000 Naira, a medium-sized one is 100,000 Naira, and a giant ram costs 150,000 Naira respectively.
“The increase in the rates is due to the cost of other variables like feeding, medication, transportation, scarcity of the commodity, and security at the markets,” he said.
Ram scarcity hits Lokoja.
A market survey conducted by Neptune Prime reporter in Lokoja, Kogi State revealed that many ram markets had gone into extinction this year due to the fact that sellers could not gain access to communities and villages to transport animals to the cities and other parts of the state as a result of the devastating consequence of banditry and kidnapping activities.
According to reports, most sellers lost animals to different clashes and destruction of properties occasioned by herders/farmers clashes in other parts of the country.
It was gathered that the prices of big rams range between 200,000 Naira to 250,000 Naira, small rams which were sold for 40,000 Naira last year are now going for 80,000 Naira to 90,000 Naira. The medium-sized which were sold for 60,000 Naira last year are now going for 100,000 Naira to 120,000 Naira respectively, representing an almost 95% increase.
According to the chairman of ram sellers at the Lokoja international ram market Felele, Alhaji Yabagi Aguyi, they had only few supply as compared to last year.
“The prices are high and people are complaining of lack of money. People just come in to compare prices and leave without making purchases. I believe the security situation contributed to the low patronage and sales” he lamented.
Scores of Muslims may not slaughter rams across Northern Nigeria this year.
The Deputy Chief Imam of the popular Sheikh Usman Danfodio mosque in Kaduna, Sheikh Usman Muhammad Damaturu, has observed that thousands of Northerners may find it difficult to carry out the Islamic obligation of slaughtering rams or other animals for Laiya (Eidul-Kabir) this year because of poverty and the harsh condition of living.
“It is very clear in the Holy Qur’an that if a Muslim has what he can eat and have a surplus, it is incumbent on him to observe the Laiya festival by slaughtering a ram, we are following the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim who was about to slaughter his son Ismail on the directive of Allah, but God sent him a ram to slaughter instead of his only son Ismail” he preached.
“Today the Northern part of Nigeria has virtually been destroyed economically and educationally, their cows were rustled away by bandits, most of their wives and children were killed, their farm produced destroyed, and there are virtually no trans-community businesses because of fear.
“Similarly, even the Northern state governors are virtually doing nothing to arrest the situation. If you don’t want to believe what I am saying, take a visit to most of the markets that sell animals, ask them prices of rams in the past 3 years and now, you will discover that it has gone up by 150%, rams selling for 50,000 Naira three years ago are now going for 150,000 Naira.
“In fact, even the supply is not much this year, because the ram sellers are anticipating that they may end up with a surplus and that will pose a huge loss because they are living in the villages and have relations in the cities so they are very much aware of the financial position of the people” he bemoaned.
In Jalingo, it’s no salary, no ram for government workers.
“I am a civil servant. There is no indication that the state government will pay salaries before the celebration and above all, the prices of rams are too exorbitant,” Aliyu Musa Jibo, a middle-class civil servant and father of six told our reporter in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital.
Aliyu told our reporter that he has already concluded that he would not partake in this year’s sacrifices due to the increase in the prices of rams.
At Tiken Awaki animal market, the small-sized rams are being sold for around 70,000 Naira, the medium sizes go for about 140,000 Naira, while the big-sized ones sell in the range of 300,000 Naira to 550,000 Naira. The prices are almost the same at all the markets across the state.
Most of the ram dealers who spoke with our correspondent attributed the increase in the prices to the increase in animal feeds and transportation fares as most of the rams come in from other states.
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