Some Muslim faithful’s in Buea, capital city of Cameroon’s South West Region went to extremes Tuesday August 21 to buy a ram for this year’s (Al Eidul-Adha)-Tabaski feast.
They complain that, the persistent crisis in the Anglophone zones has reduced their purchasing power. The consequence is a reason of high cost of rams in the market.
At the Clerks Quarters and Buea-Town ram markets, the complaint of faithful we interviewed point to the effects of the crisis on the cost of rams.
With average prices of FCFA 30.000 for small rams and FCFA 50.000 for bigger rams, some consumers found it difficult to purchase.
Malam Isah Amidou told The National Times that, the expensive nature of rams is linked to the worsening Anglophone crisis.
Amidou left his home with the hope of purchasing a sizeable ram but ended up with something different.
“The one I ended up buying cost me FCFA 30,000, while the medium size I wanted to buy went for a negotiable price of FCFA 50,000.
I have visited many ram markets around town but couldn’t buy any because of the high cost, that is why I came here hoping it would be better.
Many buyers came here and couldn’t afford the rams and they went home disappointed”. Amidou observed.
He appealed to the government to solve the Anglophone problem so that next year’s feast would be better-off than that of 2018.
“I am appealing to the government to look into the Anglophone problem or else many Muslims will not be able to afford rams during this (Al Eidul-Adha)-Tabaski and more to come,” he said.
Another Muslim faithful Adamu Isa, said, he could not believe the amount of money he was asked to pay for an average-sized ram.
According to him, Allah does not put a burden on anyone who could not afford the sacrifice.
Isa said “I could not buy and I just had to go back and from all indications, I will share with others who have bought already”.
If Allah permits me to buy, I will come and buy but people must know that Allah has not put a burden on any Muslim who cannot afford a ram”. The faithful cautioned
He continued that “If you can afford, good! .Buy it, and if you can’t, then leave it. It is not a luxury, it is for sacrifice.”
Isa reasons with the traders but averred that, merchants should consider the purchasing power of average income earners. To him, people are just trying to fulfill religious obligations.
Malam Ibrahim Ali, trader in rams, attributed the cost and complaints of faithful to the current climate in Cameroon.
Ali ascribes the situation to the increased in cost of living and the sociopolitical pressures in the two English speaking Regions.
The ram dealer explained that traders from the North and Far North Regions could not bear the risk of brining rams to the troubled Anglophone zones.
“Bringing rams from the North to the Anglophone regions can be very expensive, plus the high rate of kidnappings in the regions now, everyone is afraid.
“I arrived here with some of my boys since about a week with over 200 rams yet we could only sell a few, not up to 50.
Buyers come, bargain and go without buying because they are also complaining that there is no money in the country, everything in the market has increased in price, not just rams”. Ali told The National Times
The trader insists that it is not the fault of brokers. “It is not our fault, we did not buy them cheap and even the ones we reared ourselves are expensive because it is not easy to feed and rear animals for two or more years, it costs money.” he said.
The feast is a yearly event in the Muslim faith. It is marked by prayers, charity, love and forgiveness.
The slaughter of rams according to Muslim teachings is in commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, on Mount Moriah before Allah intervened and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead of his son.