The origin of Ram-fighting can be traced to the Muslim festival of the Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the Ramadan. Rams are bought to commemorate the event but those rams seem to be used by some faithfuls to engage in Ram fighting before it is eventually slaughtered.
Ram-fighting may not have been given any official recognition in national sporting event, but there have been cases where competitions had been held for purpose of recreation for fans. The last was in March 2016, when Rams and owners gathered at the national stadium in Surulere to compete in the championship.
Interestingly, the Nigerian ram fighting rules made by the Ram Lovers Association of Nigeria (RLAN) states that at the start of a tournament rams are allowed to hit 30 “blows” before the referee calls a tie. By the finals, rams can head-butt up to 100 times.
The audience of ram-fighting are excited, the joy and tension of the day is drastically reduced when these animals exchange bout, there have been low recorded cases of blood-related injury arising from the head-to-head collision of these animals, but it is not as fierce as what you would get in a sport like boxing where humans spill blood most times to win a championship. To simply put it, Ram-fighting is entertaining.
Efforts made by Sport Intelligence Magazine to find an Islamic injunction approving of the fight proved abortive, while animal rights activists who are strongly against the act of ram-fighting, base their argument on the state of health of the animals, without citing any Quranic injunction that forbids the act . But those who believe in ram-fight believe and advocates that engaging rams in fight is a way of accessing their strength on which will have an upper-hand to mate.
During this ram-fighting season, strong rams easily get supporters as those who believe in the strength of a particular ram as they become so loyal to it that they wear customized jerseys portraying their support for the said ram.
Ram-fighting have have also led to gross disobedience according to findings made by Sport Intelligence Magazine. There have been cases where young boys sneak their rams out of their house without parents consents to engage in the fight with the intention to stake betting on which ram will win during the head-to-head collision.
One faithful Muslim who spoke with Sport Intelligence Magazine on grounds of anonymity simply said,”The best way to avoid getting oneself involved in the heat of ram-fight, is to place an order for your ram to arrive on the day of the celebration, hence no one will have the opportunity to take the animals out for grazing, which at times leads to ram-fight”
In Nigeria this year, Eid al Fitri is expected to begin on June 25 and end June 27, 2017. Although the dates may vary but the tentative date is worked with pending when there is an adjustment to the earlier scheduled dates.
Finally, despite the strength of the rams, no ram bought for the purpose of the celebration have ever been allowed to live on after the celebration. They are slaughtered during the celebration, confirming that the main purpose for the purchase of the rams is to fulfill the scriptural significance of the rams and not for the purpose of fighting.