ACCRA: Deadline necessary in registration of pilgrims - Veep
|VEEP, John Mahama|| |
Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Friday called on National Hajj Agents Association to provide a deadline for the registration of all prospective pilgrims in order to avoid the perennial difficulties in the connection of flights.
He asked the association to assist pilgrims who cannot pay their air tickets in bulk to do so by instalments.
Vice President Mahama made the call when members of the association called on him at the Osu Castle to present their report for the 2009 pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
He explained that last year the Hajj Committee had to charter emergency flights for pilgrims, which caused them a great deal of money because their number was underestimated.
"You should be able to have a cut-off date so that we can know the actual number of people who are travelling before contacting the airlines for the pilgrimage."
The Vice President said this year government planned to provide identification tags for all pilgrims so that they can easily be identified in Mecca in case they lost their bearings in the performance of their religious duties.
He called on the association to educate the pilgrims to stick to standard baggaging by not exceeding the stipulated kilogrammes granted by the airlines to attract penalties.
Mr. Alhassan Mahama, Chairman of the association commended the government for facilitating a successful pilgrimage last year and expressed the hope that such a feat would be replicated this year.
He however appealed to the government to help the body to clear the backlog of pilgrims who were unable to travel since 2006.
"The erection of the Hajj Village at the El-Wak stadium and the airlifting of Muslims from the North to Accra and later on to Saudi Arabia actually promoted the image of Muslims in the country and we hope that such cordial relations. will continue."