Some ram sellers in Lagos State on Thursday decried low patronage of the sacrificial animal for Sallah by Muslim faithful.
Some of the traders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at ram markets in Agege and Alagbado areas of the state that business had been low.
Mr Aliu Dodo, A ram seller in Agege, said despite the fact that Sallah would be celebrated in less than three days , people were not just buying many of his animals.
“Business is very low ;people are not just buying .Around this time last year,I already sold many of my rams.
But this year,things are different.I understand things are difficult .Many people will like to buy but cannot afford the animals .
“‘And if people don’t buy,we cannot sell.We are ,however,optimistic that we will record some reasonable patronage before Sallah,”he said.
Dodo said bringing many animals all the way from Katsina and not being able to sell a quarter less than three days to Sallah was discouraging.
He urged the government to do more to address the challenges in the economy to improve demand and by extension,business.
Dodo said that the cheapest ram in his stand was N70,000 while the most expensive was N250,000.
Another dealer,Mr Mubarak Daudu, who sells at Alagbado area of the state, also complained of low patronage of his animals.
Daudu said that most of his customers came to ask for prices and would leave without buying after they were given the prices of the different sizes of rams at his stand.
“We have low sales this year compared to the previous years.
“Despite the security challenges in the north and high cost of transportation of rams from there Lagos, we are not really selling many of our rams”,he told NAN
Daudu urged the government to assist ram sellers by subsidising the prices of rams around Sallah so that many people could afford them.
The ram seller also urged the government to address rising transportation costs and the security challenges in the north,which he said,were driving prices of animals up.
He said the ram he sold for N85,000 could not be bought for N150,000 this year due to high costs of transporting the animals from the north
Mr Waliu Mustapha, another seller at Meiran in Ojokoro area of the state ,said he might not bring many animals to Lagos next year owing to the low patronage he was recording now.
“Things are just dull.I may not bring many rams next year.How can one explain that I have not sold 30 out of the 123 rams that I brought? Things are just down”,he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Rasaq Ajala, Executive Chairman Odi-Olowo Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area (LCDA), has subsidised rams for Muslim faithful in Mushin community.
Ajala, while addressing a crowd of residents at the council secretariat on Thursday, said the step was to help those people who were not empowered enough to buy rams.
He said the subsidised rams were only for people of low income, adding those with means should have no business buying the subsidised rams at the council secretariat.
According to him, those who are not residents of Mushin can not benefit from the gesture.
“Government belongs to the people. I, therefore, urge those who have already purchased the rams not to get another one to pave way for the others who have not gotten theirs.
“Once you have a valid voter’s card that has the address of Odi–Olowo-Ojuwoye LCDA, you are eligible to purchase the ram,” Ajala said.
He assured the people that the programme would be a continuous one and would expand in terms of several rams to be sold.