Few days to the Muslim Eid-el-Kabir festival, price of rams have gone up in some markets in Minna and other parts of Niger State.
Checks by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in some markets in Bosso, Lapai, Paikoro and Chanchaga Local Government areas on Monday revealed that the markets were filled with rams of different sizes.
At UK Bello, Ladi Kwalli, Dutsin Kura Junction markets in Minna, rams of average size sell for N45,000, while bigger ones sell for between N50,000 and N150,000.
There were few buyers in all the markets visited by NAN. Children were seen roaming major streets of Minna with rams looking for buyers.
A prospective buyer, Abdul Abdullahi, who spoke to NAN complained that the prices were too high.
He said that rams of the same size were being sold for between N25,000 and N40,000 last year.
Mr Abdullahi expressed the optimism that the price will crash because of the prevailing illiquidity in the country and as the Eid-el-Kabir day draws nearer.
Another customer, Ahmed Ibrahim, expressed displeasure over the high price, saying an average Muslim might not be able to buy if the price remained high.
Musa Isa, a resident of Paikoro, the headquarters of Paikoro Local Government Area, told NAN that he had not been able to buy a ram because of the high price.
He said he would wait till a day before or after Sallah day when the prices would have come down.
“There are other preparations to make ahead of the Eid. Buying a ram at an exorbitant price is not necessary at this time; hopefully, the price would crash after the Eid prayer,” he said.
Bashir Abubakar, a ram seller at Bosso Local Government Main Market, however, attributed the exorbitant price of rams to the high cost of transportation, their feeding and the general harsh economic situation in the country.
According to him, those breeding rams also want to break even in order to get money to take care of other problems.
Another seller, Kabiru Tanko, dismissed the insinuation that the prices of the rams were high due to profiteering.
“We are not making much profit because of the cost of transporting the animals from Sokoto, Kebbi and some as far as from Niger Republic.
“We also have to feed and vaccinate the rams for many days while waiting for customers and that cost a lot of money, ” he said.
Abubakar Bello and Ishaku Mohammed, both ram sellers at Chanchaga and Lapai local government areas, admitted that the prices of the animals were too high and blamed the development on the high cost of transportation.
They said that transporters were also blaming the high prices of diesel and petrol for the hike in transport fares.
“We have increased prices to enable us to recover our investment and make profit,” he said.