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Eid el Kabir Sallah: Closure of Gamboru Ngala, Damasak and Banki Borders Hike Prices of Rams, Other Livestock For Sacrifices

By Ahmed Abu, The Nigerian Voice, Maiduguri
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As Muslims faithfuls prepare for the 2018 Eidel Kabir sallah festival where those who can afford to buy ram or sheep or goat or cow or camel can do so and slaughter on the 10th Day of Dhul Hajj every year in compliance and commemoration of the doings and sayings of Holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW) as a symbol of compliance to the command of God Almighty commanded Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to slaughter his only and beloved son, Ismail (AS) as an offer to God Almighty that Prophet Ibrahim obliged.

He laid down his only beloved son and covered his face after sharping his knife, with the acceptance of the only beloved son who also advised his father to obey God and do exactly what God commanded him to do. Then within a tickle of an eye, God Almighty commanded Angel Gabriel to replace the son, Ismail with a beautiful, white, healthy and big ram for Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to slaughter in place of his only and beloved son in appreciation of his obedience and loyalty to God.

So, it became a tradition that every year on the same day, muslins all over the world whether performing pilgrimage or not opportuned to be in Saudia to perform pilgrimage are commanded to make same sacrifice by slaughtering a ram they can afford as Prophet Ibrahim (AS) did which Holy Prophet Mohammed (SAW) also did and taught us how to do it as God commanded but only for those who can afford and no Muslim is allow to borrow money to make such sacrifice.

Meaning, it is not compulsory for every adult Muslim who can afford but voluntary if you can afford and most importantly, it is a necessity to any Muslim that can afford because God Almighty has pledged a ransom reward in heaven for whoever obeyed and imitated the obedience and loyalty of Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

That is why every adult Muslim both men and women struggle to ensure that they get at least a ram or sheep or goat or cow or camel depending on ones ability to slaughter as sacrifice every year in the twelfth (12) Islamic calendar month of Islam in order not to miss the divine reward.

But unfortunately, despite the boko Haram insurgency, hardship and sufferings, Muslims in Borno state tend to ensure that they do not miss the reward. Hence, they go extra mile to get one to sacrifice on the Eid day or within the three days after the Eid day as provided for if one can not afford on the 10th of Dhul Hajj. It can be sacrificed the following day and the third day after the sallah day.

However, due to security Challenges in the lake chad region where boko Haram insurgents now terrorise residents, farmers, herdsmen and fishermen, the Nigerian military have closed all the borders linking Borno state and its surrounding states where most of these livestock's are imported from through the Ganboru Ngala, Damasak, Banki and Nguru Machina border towns and areas where it is daily brought in large quantity and at cheaper prices for local, national and international consumption to places like Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic.

The livestocks are distributed in Lagos axis, southeast, PortHartcourt, Edo, Benue axis among other places.

Therefore, with the closure or ban of importation of these livestocks from the neighboring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon Republics where these produce are cheap and in large quantity. This year's eid el Kabir sallah ram and other livestocks for the sallah sacrifices have become very stressful and expensive with only the few livestocks available within the region and those being imported from the north central and north west instead of Chad, Niger and Cameroon Republics.

Visit to most livestock markets and strategic points where livestocks are sold for the eid el Kabir festival, prices of livestock have seriously sky rocketed and in some cases tripled the old prices. At Kasuwan Shanu market Maiduguri, a ram of N15,000 last year is now going for N25,000- N30,000 while a healthy and big ram of N80,000-N100,000 last year is this year going for N200,000-N300,000.

At Bukunkutu NEPA side livestock market, the prices are very high and have discouraged some people not to buy rams yet with the hope and high expectation that the prices may come down as the economy is slow according to one Mustapha Kolomi, a civil servant who visited the Bukunkutu market.

Kolomi added that the situation may not be unconnected with the closure of the borders this year, most of the rams were coming into Maiduguri from Yobe state and other states within the north instead of from the neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon Republics.

A livestock seller, Isa Ahmed at Kasuwar Shanu said, " We buy these livestock on high prices and transport them down to Maiduguri in trailer. We have to pay for the transport".

"We also have to pay for the loading and off loading of the livestock both at where we are buying and here that we are off loading and still we have to pay money at check points on the road, still pay the union people at both the points of buying or loading and selling or off loading here.

" With these expenses and high cost of rams, definitely, the prices must be very high.

"And this is all over the livestock markets that you may go. It is not only in Maiduguri. It is a general thing especially, during the eid period where everybody knows that people will come for rams or cows or goats or camels to make sacrifices which is rewarding and a thing that every adult Muslim want if he or she can afford.

At Customs Area, Gwange, Bolori, Monday Market, Madaganari , Dala, Damboa road , GRA and Lagos street livestock points visited along the roads within the city, the prices are almost the same with only a little difference ranging between N1000-5,000 differences while some of the rams despite their sizes are still very expensive.

Adamu Hassan, a grains dealer/businessman based in Maiduguri shuttling Maiduguri, Damaturu, Potiskun, Kano, Gaidam, Ngalda, Darazo, Gombe, Biu, Gamboru, Dikwa, Monguno, Gashua and other places said, " We thank God that today we are really witnessing this period or season and pray we shall witness more in future".

"These people don't really pity us that have hand work. We are not seeing customers and money. No work but things are high in the market. To eat is wahala and now sallah has come. No money but prices of rams are on the high side. We can not afford them.

The Chairman of the State Committee on Kasuwan Shanu Cattle Market Rehabilitation, Comrade Sauna Bukar told newsmen that rhe market was closed following security advise and the state government sees reasons to close the market despite the arrangements on ground in improving security provision at the market as well as measures adopted to ensure lives and property are being taken care of within the vicinity of the market.