By Dada Ahmed in Lokoja
As Muslim community in Kogi state warm to join their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world to mark Eid-el-Kabir festival next Tuesday, muslims in Lokoja, kogi state capital, who purchased their ram for the festival say they have mounted vigil to check sudden rise ram theft in the area.
They have also expressed concern over the astronomical rise in the prices of such animal, in their separate interview with our Correspondent in Lokoja on Friday.
Hajia Suleiman Inuwa Kadir, a resident of 200 unit estate said she woke up recently to discover to her surprise that the ram she bought for N70,000 had developed wings and perhaps scaled a very high fence into thin air.
As if Kadir’s ordeal is not enough, Mallam Tanke Idachaba, another victim in the area also expressed disappointment that his ram he bought at N20,00 and saw uptil 2:00a.m on Friday, had been stolen by the time he woke up by 5 a.m the same day.
Market survey conducted by the online publication spanning five days up to Friday at old and international markets in Lokoja showed that the price tag of an ram went to between N50,000 and N60,000 while the highest hit the room between N200,000 anf N250,000.
Many ram buyers who spoke with our Correspondent said the nature of price of ram seen this year was a sharp contrast to what prevailed last year, where an average ram went for as low as N15,000 and high as N150,000.
Some of the ram sellers such as Mallam Ishiaq Mohammed, Aliyu Sadik and Aminu Yahaya attributed the astronomical hike in the prices of ram, this year,to hike in transportation fare in conveying the animals to places for sale and the weak in exchange of naira to dollars, among other factors
Market analysts,such as Mallam Bala Mairago, who is also a ram seller at the Ram Market, near Banda,an outskirt of Lokoja, expr6 pessimism the l the prices of ram would rise during the weekend, citing possible high demand for ram in relation to the supply of the animal in the market.
Reacting to the ugly development, a Lokoja-based Islamic Cleric, Yahya Salihu, advised Muslims to stick to their legitimate means in buying ram for Eid-el-Kabir sacrifice.
Sheik Salihu, who is also a Chief Imam of a Jumma’at Mosque in Lokoja, in interview,also warned Muslims against using ill-gotten money for the purchase of ram for sacrifice, reminding them of the injunction of Almighty Allah which stays He will only “accept that which is clean and pure.”
The religious leader also admonished Muslims to have good intention for the sacrifice as a prerequisite to achieving acceptable sacrifice.
According to him, the meat or blood of the sacrificed ram is not what is important in the sight of Almighty Allah, saying that “Allah is only concerned about the piety of a believer.”
He explained that the act of slaughtering animal, as sacrifice, was a tradition highly encouraged among Muslims and usually performed on the 10th of Zul-Hijjah as well as the following three days.
“It is an essential religious rite in memory of the sacrifice performed by Prophet Ibrahim.
“It involves the slaughtering of domestic animal (sheep, goat, cow or camel) and offering. It is a sacrifice during these days of Sallah celebrations,” he said.
He also enjoined Muslims to ensure that the animal to be sacrificed had reached the minimum of six months for sheep, one year for goat, two years for cow and five years for camel accepted in Islam.
Meanwhile, the federal government has declared Tuesday and Wednesday as public holidays for the commemoration of the festival.
Additional information by the Nigerian Post.