Kaduna ram sellers, during the week, decried the low turnout of buyers in this year’s Eid-el- Kabir festivities.
Eid-Ed Kabir is marked with the slaughter of rams to mark the day of Eid, which is a day after Arafat.
It is celebrated on the 10 of Zul-Hajj, which is July 31, this year.
Our reporter visited the ‘Yan Awaki ram market, Kawo, Kaduna. There, many ram sellers told PREMIUM TIMES this year’s patroage was low.
They attributed the low patronage to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can see what is going here. Look at the market, there are plenty of rams but few buyers. Many sellers are here with their rams and no buyers.
“I have a customer that normally buys at least four rams every year but this year he only bought two. He almost settled for one,” one of the traders captured the mood of most interviewed by the reporter.
Most sellers were hopeful that in the days leading up to Friday, the day of the sacrifice, more people would buy rams.
Many sellers complained that most of them travelled long distances to bring the rams.
“For every ram, I bought and transported from Jigawa State, it cost me N1000 naira. I brought 20 rams, I sold nine. Taking the rest back means spending the money I sold the nine rams to transport them back. Instead, I will have no option than to sell them at takeaway prices so I can just go,” said Alkali Sabo.
A buyer, Mohammed Sani, said he waited until Sallah day ”to avoid the rush and price increase”.
“I came today so I can buy a good ram at a cheaper price. Thank God, I got one that is good for N30,000. The said ram goes for over N40,000 before today yet there are plenty rams as you can see and no buyers,” he said.
Also, a visit to the Zango Market, Tudun Wada, Kaduna, revealed the same tale of despondency.
Umaru Mai Rago, a ram seller is, however, optimistic that many of his rams will be sold before the next two days of the Layyah rites elapses.
“Some people are scared the rams could be expensive because of the Sallah rush. Now people are coming around to buy. But one has to sell them cheaper than yesterday,” he said.
Some residents who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES blamed the pandemic for the downturn.
“Many people could not go about their businesses. Some people were retrenched, some could not get salaries for months, some only received half salaries. How can you buy ram?
“Foodstuff is also very expensive. So many settled for food instead. We thank Allah that we are alive to witness this year’s Eid, that is the most important thing,” Alhaji Kasimu, a resident of Malali, told PREMIUM TIMES.
Meanwhile, following the lifting of restriction on Eid prayers by the Kaduna government, thousands of worshipers trooped to the eid praying grounds in Kaduna metropolis to observe the two raka’at prayers.
Most worshippers adhered to the COVID-19 health rules.
PREMIUM TIMES, however, observed that most worshipers outside the mosque premises did not observe the health protocol as issued. They prayed without face marks and there was no social distancing.
Kaduna ranks seven among states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.
According to NCDC, the state has recorded more than 1000 cases of COVID-19.