On the occasion of this year’s celebration of the Eid-Ul-Adha festival, Muslims in the country have welcomed the implementation of the ‘Free SHS’ policy, which kick-starts on 13th of this month (September) to cover all junior high school students who gained admission into the various public senior high schools across the country.
The logo for the ‘Free SHS’ programme was unveiled on Thursday by President Nana Akufo-Addo together with his vice, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at a short but impressive ceremony at the Flagstaff House.
Leading the praises for the introduction of the policy was Alhaji Baba Musa, a member of the National Planning Committee for the celebration of this year’s Eid-Ul-Adha, which took place at the Black Star Square (Independence Square) yesterday.
He said the ‘Free SHS’ policy would no doubt be very beneficial to the Zongo communities, as well as all Ghanaians.
The celebration of Eid-Ul-Adha, which saw a large number of Muslims offering prayers for the country and also sacrificing a big lamb at the Black Star Square, was graced by the President of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo.
He was accompanied by the Minister for Information, Mustapha Hamid; Minister for Business Development, Ibrahim Awal; Second Lady, Samira Bawumia and some other ministers of state and Members of Parliament (MPs).
The National Chief Iman, Nuhu Sharabutu, who is said to be on the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, was represented by the chairman of the National Planning Committee for the celebration, Alhaji Alhassan Abdullahi Sulley.
Alhaji Baba Musa also praised President Nana Akufo-Addo and his government for the introduction of the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy which was recently launched at Ekumfi in the Central Region. He noted that that policy would help create employment to the teeming unemployed youth in the country, including many of those in the Zongo communities.
He also lauded the government for the establishment of the Zongo Development Fund, which has been solely created to help develop Zongo communities across the nation.
He said the NPP government has also been exceptional in the organisation of this year’s Hajj, expressing the happiness of the Muslim elders for the ability of the government to give opportunity to 400 other pilgrims who paid for last year’s pilgrimage but were unfortunately denied the opportunity to go to Saudi Arabia.
On his part, Alhaji Alhassan Sulley praised the government for all the positive policies and initiatives to help develop the country and stressed the significance of the celebration of the Eid-Ul-Adha in the Islamic calendar.
He asked Ghanaians, especially Muslim brothers and sisters, to always exhibit discipline and tolerance in their everyday dealings and also contribute their quota positively to the development of the nation.
In a short message to commemorate the occasion, President Akufo-Addo asked Muslims and all Ghanaians to pray for the Ghanaian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia because information had it that about four of the pilgrims had passed on in the Holy Land.
“Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters, countrymen and women who have gone on this year’s Hajj, especially our revered Chief Imam, so that the Almighty Allah sees them through the Hajj and all the rites and bring them back safely,” he charged.
According to the president, the organisation of this year’s pilgrimage had largely been successful without problem.
He said his government is committed to maintaining the atmosphere that allows people of all religious persuasions to practise their religion without hindrances.
President Akufo-Addo encouraged Muslim parents to ensure their children, especially girls, who are enrolled to stay in school.
According to him, that would help to address challenges such as poverty and disease in their communities.
He said Muslim parents must take girl-child education seriously.
“I cannot end my statement without urging the education of the Muslim girl or woman. We must take the education of the girl-child seriously. We shall be perpetuating ignorance, poverty and disease if the trainers of generations of Ghanaians remain uneducated.”
While urging the Muslim community to embrace the government’s ‘Free Senior High School’ education programme, President Akufo-Addo explained that Ghanaians would be in a better position to practise their religions if educated.
“…The Prophet Mohammed is reported to have said that ‘knowledge is the last property of the believer, let him or her find it wherever he or she will. I believe the Muslim should embrace this policy because it allows the fulfillment of prophetic admonishment.
“We are in a better place to practice our religion if we are educated. The ‘Free Senior High School’ policy eliminates one of the major barriers to seeking secondary education – poverty. It is my fervent belief that it is an educated population that can accelerate the development of our country,” he articulated.