Eid-el-Fitr is the annual event for Muslim faithful across the world. It is an event that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It provides opportunity for Muslims that participated in fast and other spiritual activities that are synonymous with the holy month to regain physical strength and vitality.
Government declared two days public holidays to mark the event. Many Nigerians used the opportunity to reunite and share memorable moments with their families and friends, perhaps, elsewhere other than place of residence.
Provisions were made for enough foods and drinks. The love was extended to non-Muslim neighbours and friends. They part-took in the merriment.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), inflation has “dropped,” but Nigerians are complaining that prices of goods and services, especially food items, are still high.
Few hours before the celebration, Daily Sun visited some markets in Abuja. It discovered that there was no increase in prices of commodities, but there was low patronage. Most people could not travel for the celebration due to the economic situation and the high level of insecurity in the country.
Alhaji Musa is of Utako District Market: “I deal in jewelries. Some of the jewelries that were sold for N1,000 last two months, sold for N800. The case was different for some category of dresses, which their prices neither increased nor reduced.
“There was no much difference in sales between now and before, because of the unfavorable economic situation in Nigeria. People have applied the economic principles of ‘scale of preference’. They have made food their priority not what to wear.
“The insecurity situation in the North East where I come from, has made life worthless. My community was reduced to rubble. Those alive have relocated to elsewhere to continue their life. So, there is no place to go.”
A customer in Nyanya Market, who identified herself as Rakiya, corroborated that position: “There is no increase in price of any food item except for tomatoes and other groceries, and the reason is understandable. This is not the period of tomato harvest.” When asked why she did not travel, she responded: “Where did you see money? This celebration is going to be on a very low key. Moreover this is small Sallah.”
Mary, who sells rice and condiments at Wuse Market, said the mood in the market did not reflect festive season: “A bag of rice is still N16,000. It is only tin tomatoes that the price went high due to the scarcity of fresh tomatoes.”
A tailor in Utako Market who pleaded anonymity lamented bitterly about the poor patronage that he received in the build-up to Sallah: “I used to sleep in my shop in previous years because of customers would want me to expedite work on their clothes. But this year, the ones that manage to bring their clothes could not even afford cost of the sewing. It is an indication that things are very tough.”