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06 September 2016

HAJJ board blames Saudi government for stranded prospective pilgrims

gfgfggrtrtgThe Chairman of Pilgrims Affairs Office of Ghana (PAOG), Abdul Rauf Tanko Ibrahim,has blamed the Saudi government for causing the problem of strandedwould-be pilgrims.

Explaining the reason behind the situation of having stranded prospective pilgrims, Mr Tanko explained that PAOG, per Ghana’s quota of 5424 this year, scheduled 11 flights to airlift Ghanaian pilgrims, which were done successfully from August 19-30.

However, he said his office was confronted with the unexpected situation of an overpayment, which came about as a result of an assurance he received from the Saudi Arabia Minister of Hajj.

There were chaotic scenes at the Hajj Village in Accra on Friday as stranded pilgrims demanded answers from the Hajj Board.

The frustrations were against the backdrop of accusations of favouritism to enplane party faithful of the governing National democratic Congress (NDC) on the last flight.

Explaining the reason behind the situation of having stranded prospective pilgrims, Mr Tanko explained that PAOG, per Ghana’s quota of 5,424 this year, scheduled 11 flights to airlift Ghanaian pilgrims, which were done successfully from August 19-30.

During the Hajj conference this year, he said the Minister promised them an additional 1,000 seats to the original quota of 5,424.

For that reason, PAOG extended the July 15 deadline to July 23 for payments because of the assurance of an increase in quota, but unfortunately, the Saudi Arabia government, through the Minister of Hajj, failed to live up to their promise.

He said that created a backlog of would-be pilgrims who were denied visa for this year’s Hajj.

This is in clear contradiction to what the board had communicated to Joy News before the start of this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.

Communication Director of the Board, Mohammed Amin Lamptey had told Joy News Ghana was to fly 5,424 pilgrims this year prior to the commencement of the Hajj in Tamale.

The Hajj Board Chairman expressed worry and apologised to Ghanaians, and appealed for support and co-operation from the affected individuals and their relatives.

The Chairman of Hajj Agents Association of Ghana, Issah Umar, popularly called Meishinkafa, appealed to the unsuccessful travellers to be calm.

The 2016 Hajj pilgrimage is expected to begin on September 10 and end on September 16.

Ghanaian pilgrims are expected back home from September 22-25 starting at the Tamale International Airport and ending on October 2 in Accra.

 

 

Source: thefinderonline.com

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