Eid-el-Kabir: Nigerian Muslims prefer food than animal sacrifice
From Ismaila Muhammad, Jigawa; Bala Abubakar, Zamfara; Isa Dangana, Niger; Yahaya Wakili, Yobe; Umar Danladi Ado, Sokoto; From Muawuya Bala Idris, Katsina; Suleiman Lawal, Nasarawa; Christiana Gokyo, Plateau; Salisu Baso & Mahmoud Gambo Sani in Kano
As Muslims across the globe mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir today, a lot of preparations were made by the faithful towards observing the event with comfort.
Unlike the Eid-el-Fitr, which attracts sewing of new clothes from almost everybody in a household, during the Eid-el-Kabir, slaughtering of animals takes the center stage.
This religious rite can involve slaughtering animals like rams, sheep, goats, cows and camels and that every Muslim, provided that he or she has the means, will endeavour to practice the act, which started since the time of Prophet Ibrahim, till today.
Money and intention/willingness are considered as factors leading to the affordability of performing the ritual or otherwise among the Muslim Ummah.
Those with money and willingness could easily visit various markets far and near to purchase what they so wish among the listed animals above for sacrifice in order to emulate the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
However, this year, it has not been easy for the Ummah as there has been an economic hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is ravaging the entire economy of the world, thus limiting the Ummah’s chances of performing the ritual.
Those that have the means to do it are confronted with skyrocketed prices of the domestic animals in the markets.
Our investigation reveals that high cost of animal feeds; transportation fare, exchange rate and shortage of money in circulation have affected the purchasing power of the Ummah this year, a scenario which also caused low patronage of the animals.
For instance at the famous Maigatari International Market in Jigawa State, prices of animals especially rams, cows and camels have jerked up due to high exchange rates, Covid-19, as well as the current economic crunch the people in the country are facing .
The Sarkin Kasuwa at the market, Alhaji Muhammadu Ibrahim told The Triumph that before the announcement of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of devaluing the nation currency, the CFA, the neighbouring Niger Republic currency was sold at the rate of N600, saying however that with new rate announced by the apex bank, the CFA rose to N800 in the market.
The scenario, he said, had however made prices of animals in the market little bit fair and affordable to common man.
“This is the time when the prices of animals for sacrifice (Layya) are supposed to be moderate because, now there are shortages of food stuff, plus the arrival of Covid-19 pandemic, which affected the economy of the people who patronize the market, but it is very surprising that the prices of animals and even food stuff are very exorbitant,” Ibrahim further stated.
Many people contacted by The Triumph about their chances of slaughtering animals during the Sallah, replied that COVID-19 has crippled them economically and socially.
Ahmad Garba said for the last 19 years, he has been slaughtering a cow and three rams, but saying however that this year, he was not sure of sacrificing a single ram due to the economic realities at the moment and high cost of the animals to sacrifice.
But, Malam Dabo Danfulani Karnaya said: ”If I have the means of buying rams for layya, I would have preferred to purchase food stuff to feed my family, because it is more important than sacrificing the animals.”
In Zamfara State, the prices of the animals in their markets are similar or the same to those in Jigawa, especially in the ancient city of Gusau.
Our correspondent, who visited some markets and assessed the prices of the domestic animals, observed that the prices of animals have increased to the level that many people may not afford to patronize them.
A ram dealer, Malam Garba Lawali, described the situation as worrisome, saying a ram which before the Sallah period was sold at N20,000 now jumped to N45,000, so also a cow of N150,000 now costs N200,000, a situation the buyers described as a source of concern.
Also a buyer who doesn’t want his name mentioned, told our reporter that many people this year may not observe the ritual due the increases in the prices of the animals in almost all the markets in the state.
Meanwhile, in Niger, a survey in the various markets across the state indicated that ram dealers blamed some factors, such as Covid-19 pandemic and inability of some ministries, departments and agencies to pay salary before the Sallah period as reasons for the low patronage.
A ram seller in Bida Emirate, Malam Idris Somajigi said the buyers should not put the sad development of price increase on them, as most factors on the increases are outside their control.
In Minna Kasuwar Gwari Market, an animal retailer, Malam Audu B. Sale said the buyers were not coming, because of lack of money.
The Triumph observed that the animals were available in large numbers, but the purchasers were not forthcoming because the money was not there.
The civil servants were also not happy that the state government had slashed 30 per cent of the workers’ salary with no assurance when it would be repaid back.
Residents of Yobe State also attributed the hike in the prices of the animals to the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that the down turn in the economy of the country and lack of money in circulation informed the hike in the prices.
A market survey carried out by The Triumph in Damaturu and Potiskum showed that the animals over-flooded the cattle market, but there were no many buyers.
The chairman of Yobe State Cattle Sellers Association, Alhaji Abdullahi Sarkin Gabarun said: “We must thank God, but this year, the price of animals is somehow high, while people don’t have money in their hands to buy.”
He added: “People who bring their animals for sale are saying their prices are good, however, buyers are complaining that the prices are too high for them.”
Malam Bashir M. Tata, a buyer told our correspondent that he came to buy a goat, but its price was not affordable, compared with last the year’s, lamenting that: “This is as a result of the Covid-19 which affected every business in the country.”
Malam Mamman Aliya, an animal seller said this year’s business of rams was risky, noting that since Sunday, he could only sale two out of 20 rams he brought to the market.
“People don’t have money at hand and if you want a ram for slaughtering, you will have to budget at least between N30, 000 and N35, 000,” he said.
Also, in Kano, an animal dealer, Auwalu Sulaiman Walawai of Eastern Bypass New Sheep Market, pointed out that among the market visitors, only few could afford to buy, compared to last year.
He said this year, could be obtained at a price ranging from N80, 000 up to N350, 000, adding that rams cost from N40, 000 to N90, 000, which was an increase against the previous year.
A ram buyer, Yahaya Yakubu, who noticed great difference in the price compared to last year, lamented that some citizens could find it hard to do the sacrifice this year due to the high level of the price of the animals.
When our reporter visited some markets in Kano metropolis, he reported that some people were seriously complaining about the cost of the animals, lamenting: “It became an attitude of our people to increase the price of goods whenever they think people are in need of them.”
At Salanta/Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmoud Adam Road, one Alhaji Sagir Abubakar, who came to the animal market along the road to buy a cow, told The Triumph that the price was very high compared with that of last year, saying: “…a similar cow that I bought last year at N85, 000 is now N140, 000.”
Our correspondent in the state who visited some markets and other home animal sale points reports that the prices of the domestic animals were exorbitant occasioned by the covid-19 pandemic.
Alhaji Bello Gobirawa, chairman of Sokoto State Ram Sellers Association, said the prices of the animals such as rams, sheep, cows and camels have strongly increased, blaming it on the cost of animal feeds and the Coronavirus pandemic.
He stated that before the lockdown, a bag of hay (Kowa) was sold at N2, 500 and now is sold at N5, 000.
Gobirawa maintained that the high price of the animal feeds is determining and affecting their prices presently.
He observed that for a buyer to buy a medium class ram, he or she needs between N50, 000 and N60, 000, while cows cost rfrom N90, 000 to N150, 000 and above.
But our correspondent in the state reports that people who were willing to slaughter the animals were being seen conducting surveys at various ram markets in the state.
Our correspondent in Sokoto observed that because people could not afford to buy rams and cows as in the previous year, instead they resorted to buying goats and sheep due to their average prices.
In Katsina State, the prices of the animals remained the same as in other states of the federation, sharing same or similar reasons for the increase.
Our correspondent who visited Mashi, Kaita and Dutsinma markets learnt that although there was availability of rams, goats and cows for sell, however only few buyers could afford to buy because of the high prices.
It was also gathered that in alternative, many buyers preferred to purchase cows instead of rams which are considered more expensive among the category of the animals.
A buyer at Mashi market, Isa Muhammad Birnin Kuka blamed the high prices of the animals on dealers who are out to make money by all means without considering current economic situation.
Another buyer in Kaita Local Government Area, Jamilu Yandaki said due to the size of his family, he preferred to purchase cow because it was less in price compared to the price of ram or goat.
One of the ram dealers in Katsina State, Yusuf Luko insisted that the price of ram, goat and cow is reasonable and any interested buyer can afford to buy.
He said ram dealers are aware of the economic downturn and they fixed a price that attracted less profit for any interested buyer.
Our Correspondent who conducted markets survey in Akwanga, Lafia, Nasarawa Eggon and Doma Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State found out that many intended buyers could not accomplish their desires as a result of disparities in the market price.
For instance in Kaffi, a price of middle ram which was sold in the past between N20,000 and N25,000 now is sold at N60,000.
The story remained same in Akwanga, the home town of the state governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Sule where many people were reported unable to do the sacrifice.
Some Muslims who spoke to The Triumph expressed their worries over the increase on the price at this time when people needed the animals most for sacrifice.
Some of leaders of such animals confirmed that the increase on the price was not far from COVID-19 pandemic, which affected almost the entire world economy.
The Triumph observed that 80 per cent of civil servants in the state will not have the means to do the sacrifice due to nonpayment of salaries.
According to the vice chairman of Bukuru Cattle Market in Plateau State, Alhaji Dauda Adams, COVID-19 pandemic has brought low patronage of animals for sacrifice this year.
The vice chairman further said only few people were able to buy animals in the market, saying: “We hope to see more buyers, especially during this Sallah period so that we could sell off our animals.”