About 300 prospective pilgrims for the Hajj 2015 pilgrimage did not make it to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to challenges faced by the Hajj committee at the embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ghana Palaver has gathered.
Information gathered by the Ghana Palaver at the hajj village in Accra has it that the number of passengers required for the last batch of the 2015 Hajj Pilgrimage was 502 but due to some visas challenges less than 300 Ghanaian pilgrims were able to make it.
It was further revealed that visa applications was suspended for three days by the Saudi authorities which resulted in most of the Hajj Agents, the task force, paid pilgrims, medical staff, media as well as some government officials (protocols) who mostly go with the last flight being left behind.
The situation according to the source has compelled the committee to hold series of meetings with the stakeholders to ensure that all visas were issued. However the stakeholders decided to postpone the last flight scheduled for Monday, September 14 to Wednesday, September 16 this year.
The committee had worked round the clock to ensure that this year’s hajj was better than the previous year’s by ensuring that all prospective pilgrims were successfully airlifted to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However their efforts yielded no results as a result of technical errors in issuing the visas.
Importance of Hajj
Hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam, and it is an obligation for every Muslim to undertake the pilgrimage at least once in their lives if he or she can afford it and are physically able.
During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge in Mecca in the week of the Hajj.
President Mahama’s Commitment to Hajj Operations
In 2007, 6,000 Nigerians could not make the Hajj even though they had their airline tickets for Saudi Arabia. In that same year, 3,000 Ghanaian pilgrims faced a similar plight. Also, about 1,500 pilgrims from Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo got stranded at Dar es Salaam Airport for ten days.
President Mahama and NDC Achievement in Hajj Operation
Under the high-end leadership of His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama, Muslims are enjoying problem-free Hajj.
No pilgrim had been stranded in Ghana since 2013. There is now a Hajj Village with modern facilities to make pilgrims more comfortable.
To prevent a situation where some pilgrims lose their lives in previous trips through ill-health, pilgrims now go through stringent medical checks at the Hajj Village before embarking on the trip. Also, doctors and nurses accompany every flight that leaves the shores of Ghana to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Also, Tamale Airport has now been improved to an international one which will make it possible for Muslims from the northern part of the country to comfortably fly from Tamale to Mecca from next year.
To further demonstrate the NDC’s love for Muslims, President Mahama has made it a tradition to see off the first flight of pilgrims every year.