The first batch of pilgrims embarking on this year’s Hajj left the Tamale Airport on Sunday, August 5, 2018.
About 435 pilgrims boarded the Airbus A330 flight early in the day to Mecca. Some 237 are also expected to leave later in the night.
A total of 2,617 pilgrims from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions are expected to fly directly from the Tamale Airport to Jedda, Saudi Arabia.
Addressing pilgrims at the Tamale Airport, Chairman of the Hajj Board, Sheikh I.C Quaye said government regard Hajj as a security issue hence all necessary provisions have been made for a successful trip.
Sheikh I.C Quaye said government had to settle some GHS 31 million debt incurred by the Hajj Board in order to ensure that this year’s trip was without major challenges.
According to him, about 452 pilgrims paid their monies but never had the opportunity to embark on the trip in the previous year.
He further disclosed that the GHS15, 000 pilgrims are required to pay is not sufficient but government has subsidised the cost.
For his part, the Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Salifu Saeed appealed to the Hajj Board to consider Tamale as the takeoff point for all pilgrims in the country. He was optimistic that this will boost the economy of the region.
In a related development, the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, hinted that President Nana Akufo-Addo is very sensitive about the image of Ghana therefore all pilgrims should serve as good ambassadors.
He urged the pilgrims to be law abiding and ensure that their behaviours reflect discipline and respect for the rule of law.