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As the Eid-el-Kabir celebration by Muslim faithful inches closer, the prices of animals, especially rams, used for sacrifice during the annual festival have skyrocketed in the major markets in Kaduna State.
Eid-el-Kabir is celebrated annually by Muslims worldwide through the slaughtering of animals to reflect the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail for the sake of God.

The hike in the cost of basic commodities in Nigeria has been boldly reflected in the livestock sector. The situation is likely to deny the average Muslim the means to partake in the annual sacrifice amidst economic hardship.

When LEADERSHIP visited the demolished Dubar Hotel Ram Market in Kaduna, there were rams, but they were expensive, and the sellers confirmed the price hike.
A ram seller, Musa Aliyu said a ram sold for N100,000 last year now goes for between N200,000 and N250,000.

According to him, the price of a medium-sized ram, which cost N120,000 in 2023, is now going from N400 to N600 000. The large ram costs N700,000, has increased from N900,000 to N1 million, while the smallest is sold for between N70,000 and N80,000.

Another seller, Hassan Mohammed, lamented low patronage, saying buyers are not forthcoming.
He said, “I have been in this business for over 15 years. When you compare the prices in previous years, you will discover that they are not the same. This year, the cost of rams is very high. The places where we used to buy them sold to us at very high prices. The inflation rate is affecting the prices of everything, including livestock.

“Their feeds are also expensive; we buy a sack of feed for N20,000 to N25,000; it used to be N10,000. The other cheap feed we buy is for N7,000.

Mohammed Idris bought a ram at N150,000 and said, “This year’s price is very high compared to last year. The prices of rams keep increasing every year. I just bought it because I had no option.”
Some of the residents who spoke to our correspondent said the high prices of rams will prevent poor Nigerians from buying one for this year’s Sallah.

Mr. Musa Yahaya, a labourer and a father of seven, said, “Everything has gone up in the country, including sachet water. The country is becoming very tough on a daily basis. We can hardly feed ourselves. Rice is expensive; in fact, everything is high. Tomatoes that were N1,500 before are now N6,000. I don’t know where we are going in this country.”
They all called on the government to make life easy for the average Nigerian, lamenting that the hike in food prices is unbearable.

The mood in Bauchi is tinged with anxiety for many residents because the soaring prices of rams and cattle overshadow the joy of celebrating the festival.
Aminu Bala, a father of five, said, “Last year, I bought a ram for N35,000, but the prices have doubled this year. It’s disheartening.”

However, Bala’s experience is not unique. Many families in Bauchi are struggling to afford a ram or cattle, an essential part of the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, where Muslims commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, prophet Isma’il, in obedience to Almighty Allah.
Traditionally, families slaughter a ram as a symbol of sacrifice and share the meat with relatives and the needy. However, with the country’s current economic situation, fulfilling this religious duty is becoming increasingly challenging. The impact of inflation and the rising cost of living is felt across all sectors, and the livestock market is no exception.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the hike in the prices of ram and cattle is a common topic of discussion at local markets such as Mararraban-Liman Katagum, Soro, Alkaleri and Azare where traders and buyers express their concerns.

At the Mararraban-Liman-Katagum, one of the largest livestock markets in Bauchi, a ram seller, Usman Abdulhamid, attributes the price increase to the cost of feeding and transporting the animals. Similarly, in the Bauchi metropolis, cattle markets are nearly empty, with buyers deterred by unaffordable prices.

A livestock driver, Olaniyi Ogunmona Musa, attributed the low turnout to inflation and a shortage of rain, which have driven animal prices to unprecedented heights. “Last year, the cheapest rams were sold for about N40,000 to N45,000, but now the lowest price of ram is about N100,000,” he decried.

Also, a cattle dealer, Dahiru Garba, said he had never seen such a low turnout. “Last year, by this time, I was receiving calls from customers in Kano, Kaduna, and Katsina, but this year, I am struggling to sell due to high transportation costs,” he said.

He explained that cows that sold for about N150,000 last year now cost over N400,000, while those that sold for N400,000 now exceed N1 million.

Marketers are worried about the financial strain they face. “If the government does not intervene, we will suffer significant losses,” Garba warned.

Speaking, Zakariya Mato, the Association of Buyers of Animals and Animal Feeds, Bauchi chapter’s treasurer, noted that the low turnout is partly due to the tradition of buyers arriving just two to three days before Sallah.

“Some delay their purchase for security reasons. Previously, people come here to buy rams and cattle on Sallah day and even after,” he said.

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