The Director of Finance and Operations of the Hajj Board, Alhaji Farouk Hamza, has said the vision of the Nana Akufo-Addo government is to make Hajj operations a world-class activity.
He said the government will continue to give its utmost support to the operations of Hajj in order to give pilgrims the best experience.
Alhaji Hamza was speaking to a cross-section of journalists upon the arrival of the last batch of pilgrims at the Kotoka International Airport.
He said although preparations for this year’s Hajj started barely a few weeks before the set-off day, it was still successful, adding that everything worked according to plan.
He, however, noted that although the year’s Hajj was successful, the Board encountered some challenges, revealing that two persons died in the course of the pilgrimage through natural causes.
Another challenge, Alhaji Hamza indicated, was that some Ghanaians who were not part of the Hajj team infiltrated the Ghanaian camp for some resources.
Also, he said the Board was not able to send some people on the pilgrimage as promised.
He advised Muslims who registered but could not make the trip to submit applications for a refund.
“We advise that Muslims who registered but for one or two reasons couldn’t make it to the Hajj, put in their applications so that we refund their money to them,” Mr Hamza said.
The last batch of more than 3,000 Ghanaian pilgrims who travelled to Saudi Arabia to partake in this year’s Hajj arrived safely in Accra.
The pilgrims, who travelled in May this year, arrived at exactly 1:30 pm on Monday, 25 June 2022 at the Kotoka International Airport.
The visibly exhausted but excited pilgrims were welcomed back to the country by some members of the Hajj Board and were ushered into waiting buses and driven to the Hajj Village to finalise their travel plans and meet their friends and families.
Addressing the media, the Director of Health for the Hajj Board, Mr Zakaria Seidu, thanked the government and stakeholders for their unflinching support in making this year’s Hajj a success.
“For the past four Hajj seasons, we have enjoyed immeasurable support and we are grateful to them,” he said.
He said this year’s preparations involved education and strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols, which, in his assessment, contributed to the success of the pilgrimage, as no infection or outbreak was recorded.
A total of 3,069 pilgrims were successfully flown from Ghana to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj rituals this year.
Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca where Muslims perform various rituals, as part of an Islamic obligation.
It is the fifth pillar of Islam, which enjoins every Muslim, who can afford, and is physically fit, to embark on the pilgrimage, at least, once in their lifetime.
Each year, millions of Muslims from all parts of the world converge on Saudi Arabia to praise Allah, express appreciation to Him for His mercies and also seek blessings and forgiveness for their trespasses as part of the rituals.