Adenike Lukmon is a ram seller at Itire market in Lagos.

The Eid-El-Kabir celebration is always a special period for his business because bumper sales are guaranteed.

He told Bounce News that within the period building up to the Sallah Day in 2016, he sold a total of 85 rams.

However, his story is different this year. The recession has driven away his customers and people pass-by without noticing his rams on display.

Barely 24 hours left to the major festival and he has sold only 20 rams.

“The bad economy has affected everything. Patronage is so poor. People are not buying at all. We are selling one by one. This year’s sales are just very poor compared to last year,” Lukmon lamented.

When our correspondent visited his shed by 2pm on Wednesday, Lukmon has not sold any ram – not even one.

On Monday, he sold only 3. His best sales were recorded on Saturday last week when he sold 7 rams, he said.

“It is not as if the price of ram has increased. It is not any more expensive than it was last year. A big mature ram sells for at least 90,000 naira this year,” he lamented, pointing at a big-horned black and white spotting animal.

“The same ram could have sold for about 110,000-naira last year. Yet people are not buying,” he said.  

He recalls with nostalgia how good business was in 2015 and 2016. By this time last year, he recalled, he had finished the ram stock he had and was forced to go back to Alaba market to buy more rams due to high demand.

Adenike still has more than 50 rams waiting for buyers.

But he remains hopeful that he would sell more before Friday.

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However, he also believes he may be forced to slash the price by Thursday to sell off his stock. “On that day, this ram that sells for 90,000 naira could come down to 80,000 naira just to make it more attractive,” he said.

Meanwhile, low patronage of rams had been reported across the country including Ibadan, Osogbo etc, places with high Muslim population.  

Disposable income has dropped significantly among households as Nigeria battles its worst economic recession in 25 years.

As Nigerians would say, there is little cash in town, and as the major Muslim festival approaches, some people are preparing for sallah without meat.

In the past, markets and towns would have been abuzz with clothes and food items being bought and sold to the tune of millions.

And it appears the worst hit are ram sellers.

Ram is a major part of the celebration and all Muslim families have an obligation to slaughter at least one. But what happens when the heart says 'yes' and the pocket says 'no'?

Also read: Barka De Sallah! Osun Govt. Is Selling Rams

On Monday, Bounce News reported that in various markets in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, there were rams everywhere but no buyers.

The sellers were worried.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, who visited many markets in the area, reported that the ram sellers were seen gathered, discussing in huss tones.

The correspondent reported that at Temidire 30-30 in Bodija, Akinyele, Liberty road and Mokola, rams were seen in various sizes tied to stomps with no buyers in sight.

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Meanwhile, food prices have seen some fluctuations in prices as Muslims prepare for the Eid celebrations.

But the king of protein remains securely on top when it comes to rising food price index.

A paint bucket of honey beans retains its 2000-naira price tag after it shot up in June from about 1,700 naira.

A derica of beans continues to trade at 400 naira.

The Bounce News food price survey across select markets in Lagos also showed that the price of yam remains relatively high despite new yams flooding the market.

Bounce survey showed that an average sized new yam which sells for between 800 and 900 naira by June end has risen to 1000 naira.

Old yams have almost disappeared.

The price of rice remains stable at 300 naira per derica while a paint bucket still sells for 1,500 naira.

Interestingly, a 50 kilogram of rice now sells for 14,500 as against the 15,800 naira it sold at in June.

On the meat segment, prices remain largely stable. One kilogram of beef still goes for 1,500 naira, one kilogram of chicken, 1,200 naira and 1 kilogram of fish, 1000 naira.

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More so, a hand bowl of fresh tomato comprising of at least 7 averaged sized pieces still sells for 400 naira.

Nigeria’s food inflation is at its highest in 8 years, rising to 20.28 year-on-year in July 2016, according to Nigeria Bureau of Statistics food inflation index released on Monday. 

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