Barely a week to the Eid-il-Kabir festivity, prices of rams, foodstuffs and clothingÂ have risen in major markets in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents report that the cheapest ram at the ramÂ market on Liberty Stadium Road cost N12,000, while a big ram cost N60,000.
Justifying the increase, a ram seller, Mr. Olayode Olaniyi, said on Wednesday thatÂ animal feeds, which sold for N2,500 last year, now cost N3,900.
Olaniyi also attributed the increase to the “fees” paid to the police at variousÂ checkpoints and rates charged by the local councils.
A buyer, Chief Abiodun Ashimiyu, who bought two rams for N40,000, said he chose toÂ buy early this week as it would cost more by the weekend.
At the popular Ojo-Oba market, a bag of rice (all brands) now cost N7,000 as againstÂ N6,500, while the price of 25 litres of groundnut oil rose to N1,500 from N1,200 andÂ a bottle sold for N240, up from N190.
A pepper seller, Mrs. Idiatu Busari, told NAN that a basket of tomatoes and pepperÂ now sold for N3,000 each as against N1,800 previously.
NAN reports that a bag of salt cost N1,300, up from N1,000, while a bag of sugarÂ cost N9,000 compared with the former price of N7,500 at the same market.
Ram sellers in Lagos said on Tuesday that it would be difficult for prices of ram toÂ remain low during sallah because ram is synonymous with sallah.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that transporters from the northern partÂ of the country limited their trips to other parts of the country during the periodÂ hence the high cost of the animals.
According to Alhaji Usman Mohammed, Chairman, Livestock Dealers, Breweries, Iganmu,Â Lagos this is because the transporters also want to celebrate the festival withÂ their families.
â€œWhat now happens is that the transporters hike fares by between 30 to 50 percentÂ per trip to make up for the period they will be at home.
â€œAs Sallah celebration draws nearer, it will be better for any celebrant to buy ramÂ because the price will surely go up a day or two days to the celebration,â€ MohammedÂ said.
The Vice-Chairman, Arase-Oluwa Ram Association, Oyingbo, Mr. Abiodun Nofiu alsoÂ attributed the hike in the prices to extortion of transporters by security personnelÂ at different checkpoints.
Nofiu said that the price of a ram goes up when this and other factors are added toÂ the cost of purchase.
Mr. Yekini Ojo and Alhaji Isa Dasuni, goat sellers at Census Livestock Market,Â Surulere, Lagos said that transporters from Sokoto, Kano or Maiduguri now charged asÂ high as N200,000 per trip instead of N120, 000.
They said that even prices of the feeds had increased “because a bag of groundnutÂ leaf now sells for N4,000 instead of N2,500.”
Ojo stressed that the cost of cleaning up a ram or goat had also gone up from N5 toÂ N20.
According to them, all these are expenses which add to the amount a ram is soldÂ during sallah.
A check by NAN on the rams in the markets visited showed that their prices had goneÂ up by between 20 and 50 percent.
Dasuni said that a big ram sold for N120,000 from N100,000 while a medium and smallÂ rams go for N80,000 from N40,000 and N70,000 from N35,000.
The ram sellers said that the price of a big ram could drop to as low as N50,000,Â medium size (N20,000), small size (N7,500) after the sallah celebration.
Alhaji Lawal Isa, Chairman of Irepodun Ram Sellers, Badia, Ijora, Lagos said thatÂ the prices of rams were not too expensive as celebrants felt.
Isa said that the low sale recorded now was not because of the high cost of theÂ rams.
â€œI think it is because of the poor circulation of money in the country,â€ he said.