The 452 pilgrims who fully paid for their Hajj trip last year but were unable to travel due to lapses on the part of the Hajj Board can now heave a sigh of relief as the current Hajj Board has made preparations to include them in this year’s pilgrimage.
According to Sheikh I.C. Quaye, the current chairman of the Hajj Board, monies paid by last year’s unsuccessful pilgrims to the previous board cannot be traced but for the “benevolence of President Akufo-Addo,” the unsuccessful pilgrims would not have been included in this year’s hajj pilgrimage.
Sheikh I.C. Quaye made this known Tuesday after MTN had presented a refurbished Hajj village by MTN Ghana to the Hajj board chairman on Tuesday.
Sheikh Quaye said the decision to include the pilgrims was based purely on compassionate grounds because the pilgrims had “come to us wailing and crying so we have compassion for them and therefore we have approached the good samaritan and he is the President of the Republic of Ghana.”
Although promises were made to the unsuccessful pilgrims of a full refund or arrangement to be made for them to embark on this year’s hajj ,The former Member of Parliament for Ayawaso Central constituency insisted that “it is condemnable for pilgrims to pay money and be left out and the money cannot be found till today.”
The previous hajj board authorities had blamed the failure to airlift last year’s would be pilgrims on the dramatic growth in pilgrim numbers beyond the quota that was assigned Ghana by the Saudi authorities.
The immediate past Chairman of the National Hajj Committee, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdul Tanko Ibrahim was reported to have said a substantial amount of the money owed most of the unsuccessful Hajj pilgrims were paid with a few outstanding.
This year’s hajj pilgrims are to pay $3,500 same as last year or its equivalent in cedis GHc15,380.80 which is an increase from Ghc11,900 for last year which is as a result in the increase of foreign exchange.
The unsuccessful hajj pilgrims are expected to pay up the difference of GHc3,380 if they are to make the trip this year.
The first batch of this year’s Hajj pilgrims are expected to airlifted on August 10, 2017.