As preparations for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration are underway, Nigerians are expressing widespread dissatisfaction over the soaring prices of rams and basic food commodities in various markets across the country, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Market surveys conducted by NAN correspondents in several states, including Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Edo, Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Kano, Zamfara, Bayelsa, Katsina, Lagos, Oyo, and Kwara, have revealed a similar situation. The high prices have made it increasingly difficult for people to afford rams, which are traditionally sacrificed during the Eid-el-Kabir Festival.
In addition to the price hikes for rams, the rising costs of food commodities have added to the financial burden faced by many Nigerians. Ram sellers are also lamenting the low patronage despite the high prices, which they attribute to the affordability issues faced by potential buyers and the subsequent decrease in demand.
The combination of increased prices and low patronage has created a challenging situation for both buyers and sellers, dampening the festive spirit surrounding the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
The price increase can be attributed to various factors, such as the removal of fuel subsidies by the federal government, the high cost of transportation of goods from rural areas to urban centers, the scarcity of cash in circulation, and inflation in the country.
Ram sellers, like Muriana Balogun in Ondo State, have reported low sales and discouraging trends in the days leading up to the Eid-el-Kabir celebration. Balogun attributes the high cost of rams to the removal of subsidies and mentions that ram prices have increased compared to the previous year, with some rams selling for ₦100,000, ₦250,000, and ₦320,000, depending on the size.
Abdullahi Abubakar, another ram seller in Ondo, explains that the selling prices are determined by the cost price of the rams and the transportation costs from the northern part of the country. He emphasizes that they have not arbitrarily increased the prices and remains hopeful that customers will come to purchase rams before the Sallah celebration.
Some traders, however, mention that prices had already begun to rise before the removal of fuel subsidies, attributing it to arbitrary increases by vendors rather than the subsidy removal itself. Muslim Adewale, a ram seller in Ondo, states that the price of rams has nearly doubled compared to the previous year and blames some vendors for increasing prices arbitrarily.
The rising costs are not limited to rams alone. Christiana Ologunde, a rice seller in the same market, notes that the prices of Nigerian rice have also increased significantly. A 50kg bag of Nigerian rice, which was sold for ₦28,500 in 2022, now sells for ₦36,000, while the 25kg bag has increased from ₦14,000 to ₦19,000. Ologunde mentions that the removal of fuel subsidies had little effect on the commodity’s pricing, as prices had already gone up before the subsidy removal.
Similar concerns over the astronomical increase in prices of foodstuff and animal proteins are raised by shoppers in markets such as Mile 12, Karu, and Ajah in Lagos State. The prices of large-sized rams have seen a significant increase compared to the previous year, ranging from ₦150,000 to ₦600,000, while cows range between ₦350,000 to ₦1,200,000 this year.
The poor purchasing power of residents and the high cost of premium motor spirit (fuel) after subsidy removal, coupled with the inadequate investment in.