WITH six days to the Muslim festival of Eid-el-Kabir, the price of ram has gone up by about 100 per cent in most Northern states, the major sources of the commodity to the Southern part of the country.
The menace of Boko Haram has been blamed for the hike in prices of the Sallah rams.
A random survey in ram markets on Friday, however, showed a crash in price only in Borno State, where most of the residents complained of thelikelihood of their having a low-key celebration owing to insecurity.
But it was complaint galore among Muslim faithful in Kano and Kwara states over what they considered as the unjustified price hike of ram by dealers, saying they had thought the price would be more affordable almost a week to Sallah.
The smallest ram in the two states went for N40,000, depending on the location of the market, as against N15,000 during the same period last year.
A big ram sold for as much as N210,000, with some dealers blaming the exhorbitant price to insecurity, which has not allowed businessmen to bring rams from neighbouring countries like the Republic of Chad.
Kano state topped the list of states with such astronomical increase in price with the price differential at road side ram market relatively insignificant. The smallest one sold for N30,000.
A similar size attracted N35, 000 at the popular Bichi market, while a medium one went for N50, 000, just like at Wudil market and the Kofruwa market, as against N25 , 000 and N30, 000 last year.
Most people, who were interviewed, noted that Borno and Yobe states, which were the major routes traders used to bring rams, had become impassable due to the activities of gunmen.
According to them, the recent flood that ravaged some parts in the North also washed away rams their owners had reared to sell at Sallah.
A dealer at Kofa wambe, Alhaji Muhammed Ibrahim, who spoke on the development, said, “ I used to go as far as Maiduguri and Chad Republic to purchase rams, but I cannot go there now because of the Boko Haram insurgency.
He also said some traders who used to come from the Southern part of the country to buy rams , had stopped coming because of the present security challenge in some Northern states.
However, Hajiya Zenaib Abba, ram dealer at Rijia lemo on the outskirt of Kano, lamentedthe increasing difficulties arising from the activities of Boko Haram.
In Maiduguri, Borno state, while the prices of food items were relatively stable, that of rams had crashed, with the few prospective buyers and sellers bearing grimaces owing to what they called the spiraling effects of insurgency in the state on living standard.
Unlike the usual situation when ram sellers dotted many streets and markets few weeks before Sallah day, investigations by our correspondent in Ilorin, revealed the presence of an insignificant number of them in the Kwara state capital.
A seller at Asa-Dam area of Ilorin, Umaru Danmairomu, attributed the trend to the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northern part of the country.
He said since most dealers could not bring rams from neighbouring countries, rams were being sold at such prices as N35,000, N70,000, N85,000, N95,000, N110,000, N120,000 and N210,000, depending on the market.
Another dealer at Oke-Ose area new ram and cow market, Isiaka Kabiru, said he came from Katsina and described the prevailing situation as difficult for both sellers and buyers.
He said the high cost of ram was also due to fluctuation in the pump price of petroleum, coupled with bad roads , adding that truck owners charged exorbitant fares.
A medium size ram that sold for N70,000 last year now sells for N50,000 in the state.
At the popular Mile 12 market in Lagos, the price of ram ranged between N50,000 and N100,000 depending on the size.
At Owude Ram Market after Mile 12, the price of ram and cow was between N70,000 and N200,000 depending on the bargaining power of a prospective buyer.