Muslims in Nigeria prepare to mark the holy fasting month of Ramadan but many say tough economic times may force them to cut down on unique meals and lavish spreads usually prepared during the season
The holy month is observed by Muslims the world over and fifty percent of Nigerians are Muslim, over 80 million people.
Muslim residents who gathered to pray in Abuja two days before the fast, said market prices had risen massively.
"I have gone to the market but the unfortunate thing is that if you go to the market and all these foodstuff and other things have risen, the prices have sky-rocketed it is very unfortunate this month, a holy month and I believe things should not sky-rocket like that, the prices should not escalate just like that. I think this is a blessed month, I think all we need is everything should come down so that we should buy everything as it is supposed to be," said Abdulkadir Jibril, businessman based inAbuja.
Many have attributed the hike in food prices to the high cost of transporting commodities from other parts of the country.
Trade was slow at some markets, with some unable to buy due to the staggering prices.
Sulieman Sanusi, a property consultant, said the high prices could be attributed to increases during festive periods.
"Well the prices this year are relatively on the high side and I presume, I guess to the Ramadan, the forthcoming Ramadan. You can see the prices of everything has gone up in the market now," Sanusi said.
Imam Faud Adeyemi, the Chief Imam of Al Habibiyah mosque, said people should be cutting down on food they buy in observance of Ramadan.
"You do not need to stock your houses with food during the month of Ramadan. When you don't buy, they won't have anybody to sell to increase the price on for. You don't need to buy food unnecessarily, in fact the lessons of Ramadan is thrown out when you concentrate more on buying. Ramadan is not a time when we should learn to eat more food, in fact it's a time to reduce our intake. What should have been in the market, people should have been complaining that people are not buying food," Adeyemi said.
Ramadan is expected to begin early on Wednesday (July 10) and lasts for 29 to 30 days depending on the sighting of the moon. The end is usually marked by a big celebration referred to as Eid al-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast.