‘Controversial’ Hajj Board Inaugurated
3/31/2008 10:02:15 PM -
A TEN-MEMBER Board of Trustees of the National Hajj Council was on Thursday inaugurated in Accra to pave way for fresh faces to be brought into the operation of the annual affair.
The ten-member Board, which was later reduced to seven members, included Hajia Ayishetu Aovare, an Information Telecommunication Expert; Hajia Rahmat Pelpno, a Lawyer; Mr. Fahmm Nsiah, a Management Consultant and Mr. Mohammed Frempong, a Management and Economic Consultant.
Others include Honourable M. Mutaka Mubarak, MP Of Asawase Constituency; Sheikh Kamil Mohammed Kamil, Ashanti Regional Imam Of Ahlusunna Wal Jamaa, and Mr. Salifu Ali Dayinday, a Chemistry Tutor.
Speaking at the ceremony, a member of the Council of State, Honourable Kuoro Kuri-Buktie Limann IV, said following the perennial Hajj crisis, there had been clarion calls by the general public and victims of such circumstances for a new, reconstituted and effective Hajj Board to meet the aspirations of Muslims each year.
Chief Limann IV, whose speech was read on his behalf by Major (rtd) Mohammed Easah, President of the Coalition of Muslim Organizations in Ghana (COMOG), wondered why other countries with pilgrim populations as large as thirty times that of Ghana had been able to organize the annual event without a hitch, adding that systems in those countries were supervised by their authorities with state networks feeding into an overall authority by Muslim groups operating independently but competitively.
The Special Guest of Honour said Muslims should be blamed for not adequately addressing the issues by due process, including the use of the courts to bring the culprits to book.
'I particularly want to take this opportunity, as a concerned Muslim, to appeal passionately and most respectfully to all stakeholders, especially the National Chief Imam, to endeavour, in the name of Almighty Allah, to grant their support and blessings to this restructured Council, in order to ensure the success of subsequent Hajj operations in Ghana', he said.
Earlier, the President of COMOG, Major (rtd) Easah, said Muslim authorities needed to find solutions in the face of the perennial Hajj crisis, arguing that the National Hajj Council was a permanent and legal entity representing the interest of all Muslims and that it was important for it to take such a step.
He said they held talks with the National Chief Imam and that at no point did he (Chief Imam) express reservations about the reconstituted Council.
Major Easah added that the inauguration of the Board, demonstrated that Muslims were capable of solving their own problems without resorting to government.
The Board of Trustees is expected to plan and formulate policies for Hajj and Umrah management and operations.
They will also serve as a liaison body on Hajj between the Muslim communities, the Government and public agencies at both local and international levels.
By Abubakar Salifu