Pressure mounts on IC Quaye over Hajj fee as some prospective pilgrims call for his head

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Pressure is being mounted on the Chair of the Hajj Board, Sheikh Ibrahim Cudjoe Quaye, over the fees for this year’s Hajj.

Some concerned prospective pilgrims are calling for his head following what they describe as deception regarding the fees.

They explained that in the 2020 when the Hajj was suspended following the outbreak of the coronavirus, they were assured that they would not pay any fee again when the Hajj resumes in the future.

 They were told, in a joint communique signed by Board Chairman I. C. Quaye and Chairman of the Ghana Hajj Agents Association, that the “pilgrims who via their agents, wish to retain their hajj fee deposits with the hajj board (for 2020 hajj), will be exempted from paying any increment in the hajj fare for 2022”

But, according to them, the agreement had been breached by the Board.

The Ghana Hajj has officially announced the package for this year’s pilgrimage. Prospective pilgrims are to pay ¢39,000 for the journey.

Speaking to journalists in Accra, Chairman of the Ghana Hajj Board, Sheikh. I. C. Quaye said Ghana’s quota for the Islamic religious exercise has been cut down by almost 45% to make it affordable for prospective Ghanaian pilgrims.

”The Board remains resolute to deliver a successful hajj at a significantly lower price,” he reiterated.

“The Hajj Board Ghana has pulled out all the stops to make the financial expenditure much more accommodating. Again, we emphasise that with the government effort, we have arrived at a Hajj fee of GH¢39,000 for new pilgrims.

“The Hajj Board agreed that Ghanaian pilgrims who kept their fee deposits with us in 2020 and did not opt for a refund when Hajj was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 to pay GH¢26,500 which requires a top-up of GH¢7,500 only. The Board has duly taken note of their faith in wanting to perform Hajj whenever a date was announced,” he stated.

He added “In the neighbouring states: Nigerian Muslims are paying a fee of N2.5 million equivalent to GH¢47,000. Ivory Coast, Benin and Niger, their figures are in the same ballpark”.

But the aggrieved pilgrims said they have been given a raw deal because that was not the agreement the Board had with them in 2020 when the event was suspended.

Abdalla Ashir, Unit Committee Member in Nima told journalists on Thursday June 9 that “When Hajj was called in 2020, we were told that when it resumes we would not pay any money apart from the 19,000 that we paid. But early this month, they brought their report that we are supposed to cough out another 7000 to add to what we paid in 2020. This is not good, that wasn’t the agreement.

“We all sat and agreed in 2020 that no addition, whether the prices had been increased or not, would be paid. The Hajj Board and agents, all of them agreed to that. We signed the agreement that we are not going to pay additional moneys but now there is a breach of contract now, it is too bad.”

Issah Ali, a Social Worker also said “We have a Muslim Vice President who I expected that as this thing came up he will at least come out and say something, because this is too bad.

“I think Hajj Board, they didn’t do well, there was a breach of contract because I paid in 2020 ¢19,500, equivalent to 3500 dollars, we signed that they were not going to refund the moneys again due to Covid. They told us that even if the dollar rises we were not going to pay anything again. We accepted it and gave money to them. When the time came for us to go to the Hajj this year they just called us and told us to pay 7000 in addition to the already paid fees. This is not fair, we feel they lied to us.”

Another also said “I paid for my mother in 2020 but we were promised that we won’t pay anything this year should the Hajj resume. Now they are asking us to pay ¢7000 . we cant accept this. If they can’t send my mother to Mecca they should refund my money.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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