By Khadijat Bukola Abdulazeez
It was a busy day for both buyers and sellers at the slaughter house located at the north axis of the Kaduna metropolis. It is however not something odd as the Muslims faithful marked the end of the Holy month. Muslims all over the world are expected to celebrate this unique day by showing love and care to their family, friends, strangers and neighbors through sharing of foods, gift and other items. The end of Ramadan marks the beginning of the month of Shawwal, a day Muslims are not expected to Fast.
This shows why the abattoir is always busy days to the Sallah celebration. In the face of damning evidence of the state of the nation’s economy, where the price of almost all items in the market has skyrocketed, the writer sees it deem fit to take a walk to the popular slaughter house for a fact finding mission.
At the market were the availability of mostly cow meat, goat meat and the sale of chicken and Turkeys. The environment looks rowdy as both buyers, workers and sellers were busy moving from a point to another to make up for the day. Though, it was not the first time the writer has been to an abattoir, the sketch and happenings of the environment looks fearful and frightened as domestic animals are slaughtered within twinkle of an eye.
Comically, in this kind of moment, you look up to the sky and thank your creator for not creating you as a lower animal. Apart from this, our praises and grace to the Almighty Allah should also know no bound as he is merciful enough to make us see this day. As I peruse the whole environment, I could count up to 10 different kinds of jobs the process involved in slaughtering an animal to the point of consumption created. The economic advantages of having a slaughter house are indeed enormous. Youths who should have been jobless due to the state of the country’s economy were seen engaging in one activity or the other. While some were persuading customers to buy from certain sellers, some were engaged in slicing into pieces, the slaughtered animal. In line with this, it is advisable for the Kaduna state government not to renege on the promise it made to the butchers that an ultra modern abattoir would be built. Abattoir has many economic advantages; its development shouldn’t be taken lightly.
As earlier stated, I was on a fact-finding mission to ascertain the prices of the meat, both in pieces and the whole. How will I do this? Would someone who is busy attending to customers grant me an interview or would a customer who has other things to do either at workplace or home stay behind to tell me the prices of what they bought? I was fighting these thoughts when an idea poped up in my brain. Why shouldn’t I disguise like a participant? I said to myself. I vowed to act like a buyer until I get the needed information.
The first place I went was where head of cow was sold.
According to the butcher, Mallam Aminu, depending on the size, one head of cow is sold at least, at the rate of 8,000 naira. There are heads being sold at 14-16 thousand naira, he said. When asked about whether there is a change in price, he said the price has always being like that. Even at the state of the economy, there has not being a significant increase in the price of the animals. He also asserted that he is just a retailer who buys the head from other sellers and add just a little amount to make his profit. The inquisitive mind of the writer did not stop here. The writer also went to price the heads from other seller and it seems all of them were speaking in one voice as they all said almost same thing.
The sellers of the cow legs were not left behind. The legs are laid in fours. Depending on the size also, the price differs. Ranging from four-six thousand for the complete four legs, the sellers were not ready to bring down the prices. A butcher who the writer couldn’t get his name said his major since he entered the business is selling of cow legs and the business is really profitable as he buys them cheap and sell at a more significant price.
However, the story seems to be different for those selling ‘intestines’ known as ‘Kayanchickin’ by the Hausas and ‘Nnkanu’ by the Yorubas. According to one of the sellers, buying and selling of cow intestines isn’t that profitable. ‘You buy at a certain rate and also sell at that same rate at the end of the rate’, he said. He further stated that the price of the meat always remain unchanged even if the price of other items in the market moved up. However, the researcher couldn’t further asked the reason behind that as the butcher was busy attending to other customers.
In a view to balance the stride, the writer met butchers who are involved in the sales of goats’ part. In the goats business, the profit margin is lesser to that of cow. According to a butcher (name unknown), a head of a goat sells for as low as 2000 naira. That is even when sales is moving well for the day, he said. However, the situation of those who sells chicken quite differs. In fact, coming by those who sells chicken parts is difficult. Most of the times, whole chicken is bought by customers and butchers services are needed to slaughter and prepare it. Hence, the chicken business does not flourish much in the Kaduna state slaughter house.
As the writer prepares to leave, some cow butchers lost grip of a cow being pushed to the slaughter room, and it nearly caused a stampede as people started running helter skelter, fighting for safety. Cunningly, the writer left unhurt after getting the valuable information needed.
BARKA DA SALLAH