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Sep 5, 2015

Mahama bids Muslim pilgrims farewell


President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday bid farewell to Muslim pilgrims traveling to Mecca to perform this year’s Hajj.

President Mahama who visited the Hajj Village at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, to officially see off the pilgrims, prayed for the blessings of Allah upon them for a peaceful Hajj.

“We pray that Allah sends and bring you back safely,” the President said.

Touching on the history of the Hajj in Ghana, President Mahama recalled that the late President John Evans Atta Mills had in 2008 discussed with him the need to better the lot of Muslim pilgrims during the Hajj season.

“We then started with the Hajj village at the El Wak Stadium, and now, the Ghana Airports Company has given us this land, and it has been good so far,” said the President.

President Mahama said with government intervention to ensure the comfort of pilgrims, especially the setting up of a committee in 2013 by the government to ensure pilgrims' safety and convenience, Hajj kept getting better every year.

“Year 2013 was good, 2014 even better, we know this year’s Hajj would be an improvement on all the past ones,” he said.

President Mahama expressed gratitude to the Saudi Ambassador to Ghana, who was present at the ceremony.

The President noted that the immense cooperation of the Saudi authorities complemented the country’s efforts, and helped in ensuring the success of the Hajj.

President Mahama also congratulated the National Hajj Committee for a good job done, adding that Muslim pilgrims in the Northern Region would from next year fly to Mecca straight from the North, instead of coming all the way to Accra.

He said although that was to begin this year, work being done on the Tamale Airport, made it impossible.

A total of 5,424 pilgrims are expected to perform the Hajj this year. – GNA