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Hajj Airlift Starts Tomorrow

All is set for the maiden airlift of over four hundred Ghanaian pilgrims from the Northern sector in Tamale International Airport tomorrow.

The Chairman of the Ghana Hajj Board, Alhaji Ben Abdallah Banda made the disclosure last Saturday during a press conference at the Hajj Village in Accra.

“By the grace of Allah our painstaking efforts of the past months will on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 be climaxed with the take-off of the first flight of Ghanaian Muslims from Tamale en route to Madina, Saudi Arabia to perform the annual pilgrimage, the Hajj,” he told the media.

The pilgrims, he said, will be arriving in the city of Madina to the waiting reception of members of the advance team of the Ghana Hajj Board and officials of Ghana’s embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The four scheduled flights from Tamale will end on May 31, 2024, the Ghana Hajj Board chairman said. This, he went on, will be followed by the Accra airlift which is due to start on June 2 and end on June 6.

The advance team departed Accra last Wednesday for Saudi Arabia to prepare for the reception of the four thousand Ghanaian pilgrims expected to participate in this year’s Hajj, the Chairman said.

“We on the Hajj Board remain committed to seeking the welfare of Ghanaian Muslims who embark on the spiritual journey to Saudi Arabia,” said the Chairman.

“We have secured decent accommodation at the various stations, transportation within the Kingdom for the duration of the Hajj and our pilgrims will be fed two square meals daily,” he disclosed.

The Medical Department of the Board, according to the Chairman, has readied a team of qualified medics to attend to the health needs of pilgrims during the month-long stay in Saudi Arabia.

On security, he said that “we have a robust security arrangement both here in Ghana and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure the safety and security of our pilgrims in collaboration with Saudi authorities.”

He pointed at the recently concluded orientation programmes undertaken by the Hajj Board in Yendi, Wa, Tamale, Kumasi and Accra, saying “they were intended to educate and take our pilgrims through the dos and don’ts of the Hajj.”

This year, he announced, being unlike the previous ones has been characterised with multiple warnings by the Ministry of Hajj and Ummrah in Saudi Arabia about the waiting sanctions for those who seek to use non-Hajj visas to perform the pilgrimage.

“Indeed this warning was supported by the issuance of a fatwa, Islamic decree, making the breach haram or sin-committal in Islam. These notwithstanding, some people continue to ignore the warnings,” he said.

“We wish to also caution prospective pilgrims and others to be wary of persons, travel and tour companies who are advertising seeming abilities to ferry people to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a lesser amount of money. Those who get convinced by such persons and part with their cash for a trip for the Hajj do so at their own peril,” he warned.

While admonishing prospective pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Ghana in Saudi Arabia, he was quick to express the gratitude of the Ghana Hajj Board to President Akufo-Addo, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, the Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, and the National Chief Imam for their guidance and diverse support which made this year’s enterprise possible.

The Executive Secretary, Alhaji Farouk Hamza, is already in Tamale coordinating pre-airlift processes.