Tamale Hajj pilgrims to leave this week
One thousand eight hundred Hajj pilgrims from Tamale are expected to leave for Mecca this week.
As part of measures to ensure their safety and security while they are being bussed from Tamale to Accra, where they would take off to Mecca.
The government, through the Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council, is providing the pilgrims with a police escort.
Addressing the pilgrims at the Hajj village in Tamale on Sunday,the Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, said the safety of the pilgrims was of utmost importance to the government, hence the security arrangements.
He noted that it was critical for the pilgrims to move in groups to ensure group solidarity and security for all the pilgrims. The arrangement, he said, was also to ensure that unscrupulous individuals and miscreants did not take advantage of the pilgrims while on their journey to fulfil the important religious assignment.
Alhaji Mohammed Majeed, who is in charge of the Al-Muharram Hajj Agency, assured the pilgrims that everything was being done to ensure that they did not undergo frustrations.
Responding to concerns by some of the pilgrims about why the organisers chose to provide them with Metro Mass Transit buses instead of luxurious buses, Alhaji Majeed explained that the fares charged by those luxurious buses were too expensive for the pilgrims. He further explained that the companies that managed those luxurious buses charged GH ¢ 100, which is higher than the fare for the Metro mass buses, which is GH¢50 per passenger.
Alhaji Majeed further indicated that the GH¢50 charged by the Metro buses was a hiring fare, and noted that it was a little higher than the normal fare charged by the buses from Tamale to Accra.
One of the Pilgrims, Mohammed Issifu, in an interview, said he was not comfortable with the arrangement.
The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam, and committed Muslims were expected to embark on such an important religious endeavour at least once in their lifetime, provided they are in good health.