In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abakaliki, the traders also alleged that they were subjected to monetary extortion by unscrupulous elements at various check points on the road leading to the state capital.

The Vice Chairman, Goat Dealers Association at the Garki Market, Alhaji Musa Yusuf, identified the lack of money as the reason for the low level of sale.

He said: “Goat, which was sold at between N18, 000 and N25, 000, now sells at between N30, 000, N45,000, depending on the size of the animal.

“N15, 000 has been added to the price of each animal depending on the size.”

Similarly, Alhaji Tijjani Umar, who is the Patron, Goat and Cattle Sellers Association, attributed the low rate of patronage to scarcity of money.

“We transport them from Adamawa, Yobe, Taraba, and from some other states for N170, 000 and we are forced to settle different individuals in the name of paying tax at every check point and this can cost up to N200, 000, which we pay up before we get here,” he lamented.

The Vice Chairman, Cattle Dealers Association in the area, Alhaji Lawal Ahmed, alleged that traders had been subjected to that sort of treatment for more than five years.

Ahmed, therefore, urged government at all levels to address the situation, which he referred to as a major challenge to livestock traders.

“The cows, which used to sell for N300,000, N350, 000 and N150, 000 in 2017 respectively, depending on their sizes, now sell ft for N370,000, N450,000 and N200,000 respectively, ” ahmed said.

Mrs Cecilia Odi and Mrs Celina Okike, Tomato sellers, also said that a basket of tomatoes, which sold for between N4, 500 and N5,000 in November, now sells at N15,000.

They told NAN that one could easily incur losses in the business due to the unimpressive turnout of customers.

“Transportation and expenses are our major problem in the business.

“We buy cheap and sell at a higher rate due to expenses we incur at check points as we transport the products to the market.

“Transporting the goods used to cost N60, 000, but now we will require N150, 000 to transport the goods to the market,” they said.

They further lamented that the expenses incurred when transporting the goods from Gboko in Benue to Abakaliki were too much for them to bear.

Another trader, Mr Kenneth Ofoke, a bird seller, also blamed the slight difference in price and low patronage on lack of funds and the state you theeconomy.

“The old layer birds, which sold previously for between N1,500 and N1,400, now sell for between N1,700 and N1,600 depending on their sizes.

“Also, broiler birds, which sold for between N2,000 and N2,200, now sell between N2, 500 and Net no patronage,” Ofoke said.