By Rabiu Sani
Maiduguri – Less than six days to Eid-el-Kabir celebration, ram dealers in Maiduguri are lamenting low patronage by customers.
Eid-el-Kabir celebration is marked on the 10th day of the 12th month of Islamic calendar known as Zul-Hajj and entailed the sacrificing of rams by Muslims.
A check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Kasuwar Shanu and other sales outlets indicated that ram prices had shot up by about 50 per cent in the past one year.
An average bull was sold at N120,000 as against N80,000 last year, while a thorough-bred bull attracts as much as N200,000 as against its old price of N150,000.
A medium size ram was sold at N30,000 as against its previous price of N15,000, while a well bred ram sold for between N60,000 and N100,000.
The price of sheep and goats also indicated similar hikes as it was sold at N20,000 and N15,000 as against its previous price of N15,000 and N10,000 respectively.
Some of the dealers, who spoke to NAN, attributed the situation to low supply of animals in the area.
Alhaji Hassan Adamu, a cattle dealer, said they were recording low sales due to hike in prices because the demand surpassed the supply.
“Cattle, sheep and goats are imported from Chad and Niger Republics.
“Traders from other places are no longer coming to Maiduguri due to Boko Haram insurgency. The ban imposed on cattle movement also pushed up prices,” he said.
Commenting, Ba-Aji Musa, the Chairman of Livestock Dealers Association of Maiduguri, said that the Boko Haram insurgency had paralyzed livestock trade in Borno.
Musa noted that all the supply routes and major cattle markets were attacked by the insurgents in the last six years.
“The cattle markets in Banki, Mongonu, Kirniwa and Gwom were closed down due to insurgency.
“Animals are no longer supplied to Maiduguri from neighbouring countries.
‘’Cattle transportation is banned along Kano, Monguno and Damboa roads, the only supply route is by foot from nearby villages,” he said.
According to him, more than 30 trucks with an estimated 10,000 cattle were transported from Maiduguri to other part of the country on daily basis before the Boko Haram insurgency.
The chairman called on the government to expand the scope of agriculture support programme to livestock farmers to encourage growth.
Also, Buba Audu, a resident, said the hike in prices was a source of concern to them, as most families could not afford exorbitant prices.
Audu called on traders to reduce prices to enable Muslim families slaughter ram and celebrate the season in a happy mood.