Economic Recession: Bleak Sallah Celebrations

    • So Many Rams Very Few Buyers As Muslims Lament
    • Fewer Nigerians perform Hajj Amidst Economic Hardship
    • Borno Gov Flee Domain To Evade  Public Odium

Evidence that Nigerians are passing through difficult times could be seen from the fact that so  many MuslimsS could not afford the sacrificial lamb, usually slaughtered to mark the annual Eid El Kabir Islamic festival, no thanks to the economic recession, characterized by huge public and private deficits, even as Muslims have continued to lament lack of empowerment to fulfill their religious obligations.

Our correspondents across the country report that, while ram dealers have flooded the market with hundreds of thousands of the sacrificial animals, most Muslims could not afford to buy them, with dealers attributing the decline in patronage to the harsh economic realities in the country.

Unlike in the past when politicians and other more privileged citizens in the society buy the rams and distribute to their political associates and the less endowed ones, the celebrations this year were without such largesse, as the conditions remain similar across socio economic strata of the society.

Im Abuja, Kano, Borno, Kaduna, Yobe, Katsina, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi and other Northern states where such practices of ram exchange amongst muslims were common, reports indicate that, even state Governments have not been able to extend the usual gestures, as the Governors operate at low scale while some have fled their domains to escape pressures from people who were used to getting free rams.

Our correspondent reports from Borno that, hundreds of ram dealers were stranded with their animals across the ram markets in Maiduguri, the state capital as people, especially politicians and civil servants who form the bulk of their customers have either gone under from public view or have demonstrated that they cannot afford what they used to do years back.

The State Governor, Kashim Shettima was able to approve N5 Million each for the Local Governments as Sallah honorarium, while N2 Million was given to each of the State Lawmakers, with Commissioners and other political appointees getting between N1 million and Five hundred thousand naira each. This is far less than what they usually get at this time of the year.

In the midst of public odium against his person over his alleged roles in the theft of relief materials meant for displaced persons, and osyensibly to avoid public embarrassment at the Eid ground, Governor Shettima hastily left Maiduguri for Bama to celebrate the Sallah. In Bama, the Governor envisages that there will be less pressure.

In the last few weeks, security around the Governor Shettima had to be stepped up following series of booing at public functions and reports of further mischief on Sallah day. A song specially composed on the scandalous rice theft to which the Governor is shown dancing to ridiculous tunes had gone viral in the social media, suggesting possible further embarrassment.

In Kaduna, Governor Nasiru El Rufai was said to have told all those expecting rams from the State Government that they have a long wait to make as he has no plans to extend such gesture to anybody, because celebrating the Sallah is their private businesses and not the Government’s obligation.

El Rufai, our correspondent reports has not been forth coming on such gestures since he came on board, even when his predecessors had made it a tradition of some sort, by giving rams to select individuals.

The situation is not different in Kano, where dealers were noticed pulling rams along main streets, but people do not seem to be so enthusiastic about buying, even as State Government vehicles have been noticed distributing some rams to a few individuals in Kano, but not with the usual fanfare associated with such practice in the past.