Hajj 2016 Prospective Hajj pilgrims stranded; cry for help

According to the stranded pilgrims, the hajj authorities have deceived them and have left them to the mercy of the weather and other poor living conditions at the hajj village.

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Hundreds of prospective hajj pilgrims have been left stranded at the Hajj Village in Accra without any knowledge of when they will travel.

According to the stranded pilgrims, the hajj authorities have deceived them and have left them to the mercy of the weather and other poor living conditions at the hajj village.

“It is pointless for the government to facilitate the smooth departure of flights in Tamale to aid our brethren in the north, while hundreds of passengers remain stranded in Accra under very terrible human conditions and are about to be denied our right to make the dream Holy journey,” a press statement co-signed by the spokesperson and convener for the stranded pilgrims, Mohammed R. Abdul-Rahman and Shehu Alwala Abdi, has said.

READ ALSO: Woman collapses and dies at Hajj village

The statement added that “If the government is truly committed to ensuring a smooth passage to Hajj for all Muslims, then it should as a matter of urgency come to the aid of those of us who are stranded at the Hajj Village”.

Below is the full statement

PRESS RELEASE BY STRANDED 2016 PROSPECTIVE HAJJ PILGRIMS ON OUR HOPELESS SITUATIONAT THE HAJJ VILLAGE

We are writing with extreme anger and disappointment for the attention of the government, the media and fellow Ghanaians to the deceit and inhuman treatment being meted out to us, prospective pilgrims for Hajj 2016.

As is public knowledge, the air lifting of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj 2016 begun with the departure of four flights from Tamale to Saudi Arabia a couple of days ago. Soon after the last of four flights departed Tamale, the remaining prospective pilgrims, most of whom are from the middle and southern belts of the country, were called by our respective accredited Hajj agents to come to the Hajj Village in Accra to complete our departure formalities and board our respective fights to Saudi Arabia. 

It has been over a week now and as at the time of issuing this press release, all the eleven scheduled flights to Saudi Arabia have left Ghana, yet hundreds of prospective paid-up pilgrims are stranded at the Hajj Village without any reliable information on when they will travel. It has been consistent tales of misinformation, deceit and frustrations as a result of a complete breakdown of official communication from Hajj authorities.

We have been left stranded and wandering about hopelessly at the Hajj village under very deplorable condition. Some of those from outside Accra are the most affected because for more than a week, they have been forced to sleep in the open under mosquito-infested canopies at the village with a fading hope of catching a flight.

Our hopes of making the journey to the Holy Land are fast fading because of the consistencies in the deceitful stories we have been told. 

Ever Since the 11th flight left on the dawn of Tuesday August 30, there has been conflicting information on what next for stranded paid up pilgrims who have been unacceptably left at the mercy of the cold weather and mosquitoes at the Hajj Village. 

It is very despicable how the aged have been left to sleep in the open, when we have toiled to pay our money well in advance in our quest to go and serve Almighty Allah. 

We totally condemn this cruel treatment being meted to us and call for immediate action by the government to avoid chaos at the Hajj Village. 

The pilgrimage to Hajj is a process which did not start only last week. It started many months ago and ndeed some of us fully paid our money even before the month of Ramadan and we cannot understand why we are being made to suffer because of the inefficiencies of authorities.

The bogus excuse that our passports are still with the Saudi Embassy is untenable because we fully paid our money well in advance for authorities to process our Hajj visas.

And what was the basis for scheduling eleven flights when Hajj authorities knew the number of paid up members involved and that eleven flights would not be able to contain all paid up members?

Or is it the case where slots for stranded, paid up pilgrims have been given to so-called protocol list from government as is being widely claimed?

Whether the government sends functionaries to Hajj for free or not, is not our business. Our business is that we have fully paid, we have the right to travel and we demand that we should be airlifted to Saudi Arabia as soon as possible.

As responsible citizens who have paid the approved fee for Hajj well in advance, we call on the government to intervene if it is indeed committed to ensuring a smooth Hajj for all Muslims in the country.

It is pointless for the government to facilitate the smooth departure of flights in Tamale to aid our brethren in the north, while hundreds of passengers remain stranded in Accra under very terrible human conditions and are about to be denied our right to make the dream Holy journey. 

If the government is truly committed to ensuring a smooth passage to Hajj for all Muslims, then it should as a matter of urgency come to the aid of those of us who are stranded at the Hajj Village.

By this press release, we also wish to plead with the media to visit the Hajj Village immediately and get firsthand information on what is going on there from the horse's own mouth.

The hundreds of stranded and frustrated pilgrims there will tell their stories more vividly than this press release has done. 

We and our families are tired of the daily frustrations and deceit.
END!

SIGNED……..:
Shehu Alwala Abdi (CONVENOR)
Mohammed R. Abdul-Rahman (SPOKESPERSON)

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