About 3,000 Muslim pilgrims hoping to attend this year’s hajj may miss out because of difficulties in securing passports.

Even though applications for passports have been sent to the Passport Office in Accra two weeks ago, not a single passport has been secured.

A hajj agent in Tamale, Alhaji Yakubu Ayana who addressed a news conference in Tamale Wednesday, said with the first flight from Ghana to Saudi Arabia scheduled for October 26, hajj agents are worried that time is running out.

He has therefore appealed to the government to intervene to ensure the speedy processing of the passports.

According to him, the Hajj Board has on several occasions submitted the applications for the passports but the Passport Office persistently asked the board to wait.

The dillydallying by the passport office, Alhaji Ayana said, poses a potential risk because given the sheer numbers of the prospective pilgrims, adequate time is required to process their passports.

He said any attempt by the Passport Office to issue the would-be pilgrims with biometric passports will result in more problems since there is no longer time for the agents to assemble all applicants to travel to Accra personally and go through the process of acquiring the biometric passports.

He is therefore advocating for old passports since that can be processed without the presence of the applicants.

He said he has been under pressure from the 420 applicants from the Northern Region and hoped that the Foreign Minister – Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni – who is also a Muslim will understand the precariousness of the situation and use his good offices to lobby the government to intervene.

Source: Mahama Sayibu/Tamale


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