The National Hajj Council says in spite of frantic efforts it made as well as efforts of Ghana's Mission in Jeddah, it could not secure the deadline extension that would have enabled it to fly stranded Pilgrims at the Kotoka International Airport for this year's Hajj.
A statement signed by Sheikh Mustapha Ibrahim, Chairman, National Hajj Council on Tuesday said in view of the development, Pilgrims cannot be air lifted to the Kingdom to perform the Hajj and asked stakeholders to expect another statement on Friday.
The following is the full statement issued on Tuesday.
The National Hajj Council wishes to inform all prospective Pilgrims and the general public that despite the frantic efforts made by the Government and the Mission in Jeddah unfortunately extension was not granted.
In view of this, Pilgrims cannot be air lifted to the Kingdom to perform this year's Hajj.
It must be noted though that a substantial number of Pilgrims have already been transported to the Kingdom.
The National Hajj Council is consulting all stake holders on the way forward and will provide a full statement on Friday 29th December, 2006 at 10:00 am at the International Press Centre.
The Council reiterates that, they will continue to generate relationships with all and sundry, especially government and affected Pilgrims in order to protect the interests of all.
Earlier on Monday, the Council in another statement signed by the Vice Chairperson, Dr. Hajia Rabiatu Ammah said it was hopeful of securing an extension to an arrival deadline to enable the stranded Pilgrims make the journey. Over 1000 pilgrims had already been air lifted to Jeddah for the Hajj.
Here is the statement issued on Monday
The National Hajj Council wishes to inform all Pilgrims that it is still making frantic efforts to air lift them to Saudi Arabia to perform this year's Hajj. Our mission in Jeddah together with other countries facing the same problem which is an international one, have requested for an extension. The issue is not about flight but about extension of time from the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are hopeful it would be granted. We would update you on developments.
The National Hajj Council is briefing the Office of the National Chief Imam, the leadership of FOMWAG, Ahlus Sunna Wa Jammat and the Coalition of Muslim Organisations Ghana about the latest developments and how to resolve this crisis. At the appropriate time the NHC and the leadership will come out with the way forward.
We wish to reiterate that the Government and especially the Office of the Vice President has nothing to do with this problem. On the contrary Government and the Vice president are seriously working to help resolve the crisis.
The NHC is still appealing to the Muslim Community to be patient and exercise restraint.