WITH every year’s commencement of Muslims fasting period of the month of Ramadan, there is the usual hike of prices of food items, and this year is not an exception. With the economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 that caused some people to lose their means of livelihood, people are not finding the price hike this year funny.
Clerics preach against price increase during Ramadan, but traders still do it. If you complain, they would tell you that they bought it at a higher price too.
However people believe that traders hoard items in anticipation of the month of Ramadan so that they would make an exorbitant gain through the hardship of others.
Is it not the month where small acts of kindness are rewarded abundantly? So how come that some people prefer to get their ‘reward’ by increasing the prices of food items? People wonder, especially when you hear that in some countries they reduced the prices of items.
What I observe is that many people want to buy Irish potato, which is normally beyond the reach of many, but during this Ramadan, the price has been increased to N2,000 for a basket that before Ramadan was N1,400-N1,500. They lament and make-do with yam. For some, it is kosai (fried bean cake) but the price of beans has increased too.
The prices of millet for kunu (gruel) and sugar have risen. A crate of egg is N1,500
The fruits that doctors advise people to take are expensive as well.
Even the ‘pure’ water that has become the water that you find in almost every home has risen from N100 per bag of 20 sachets to N120 in Kano. If it is cold, the price may rise to N150.
Though some people eat during Ramadan as they usually do, without introducing new items, but Ramadan is associated with eating some goodies such as eggs, pepper soup, chicken, fish, fruit juice, fruits and so on.
Some people eat some food items from Ramadan to Ramadan. It is not an everyday affair.
A friend told me some years ago she saw a man who wanted to buy some oranges in Ramadan. He said if it were not for Ramadan he had no business with those things.
So when I saw a WhatsApp message admonishing people not to think of Irish potato, fried chicken and so on, but instead to think of how to observe night prayer and other acts of worship, I wonder how thinking of wanting to eat something delicious would decrease your acts of worship.
Even those that give out food as alms by taking it to mosques, at their houses, to schools and such places are expected to give out delicious food with meat, fish or chicken. Some even include drinks.
So if you are expected to give out such food, why couldn’t you ‘dream’ of eating it? Besides, even the people usually gather where they know delicious food is given. After all it is not every day they would get that kind of food.
People used to prepare many dishes that they hardly eat. As such, now they prepare what they know they can eat to avoid waste.
But all this depends on what you can afford, because you cannot eat what you cannot afford.
At any rate, in spite of the connivance of traders and whoever, many people still rush to give out in whatever capacity they could. Some give out dates, water, food or food items to relations, neighbours, the needy and passers-by.