Hajj 2017: Over 500 pilgrims stranded after first flight failure in Tamale

Hajj 2017: Over 500 pilgrims stranded after first flight failure in Tamale
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Abubakar Ibrahim |abubakar.ibrahim@myjoyonline.com
Date: 11-08-2017 Time: 02:08:35:pm

Over 500 Hajj pilgrims are stranded at the Tamale sports stadium where the Tamale Hajj village is sited. 

It follows the failure of the aircraft that was supposed to airlift them from the Tamale International Airport to Saudi Arabia to show up.

The disappointment comes just a day after the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in his inaugural speech to the pilgrims promised to ensure this year's Hajj is going to be devoid of all hitches.

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Ghana’s Hajj organization has mostly been characterised with a lot of disorder over the years.

The Hajj Board has been experiencing a déjà vu of scheduled flights not showing up, pilgrims not knowing when they would be airlifted, visa issues for pilgrims as well as some pilgrims being left behind.

Related: Hajj Board leaves behind GH¢23 million debt

There were reports that the Board, which organized the 2016 Hajj activities, left behind a debt of ¢23 million.

But Dr Bawumia at the launching of this year’s programme in Tamale on Thursday said government has paid off the accumulated debt piled by the previous Hajj Board.

He said at least over 425 pilgrims who paid but could not make it last year have had their issues addressed.

Related: Suhuyini challenges Bawumia to clear Mahama's Hajj debts

But the latest twist is that pilgrims who were expected to airlifted Thursday are stranded in Tamale over some challenges.

“We were told we would leave at 5 pm, later they said 8 pm and lastly they said 10 pm which never materialized," a pilgrim told Myjoyonline.com.

“So we were forced to sit through the night with mosquitoes biting us here,” the pilgrim added.

According to him, their passports were collected in the morning with the promise that their flight will take off Friday, but since then no one has officially told them anything.

Another pilgrim charged the Hajj Board to improve their communication with the pilgrims and be truthful, despite irrespective of the situation.

Hajj 2017: Airlifting of Ghanaian pilgrims begins at Tamale

“Every good thing has its challenges and I am sure once the first flight takes off things will move smoothly but they should be open and truthful.

“In organisation you need to plan for challenges so that when they come you deal with them and move on,” the pilgrim added. 

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