Alhaji Ben Abdullah Banda (middle), Board Chairman, Ghana Hajj Board, briefing the press in Accra. With him are Alhaji Alhassan Zakari (left), Hajj Agents Association, and Alhaji Masawudu Osman (right), Board Member.  Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Alhaji Ben Abdullah Banda (middle), Board Chairman, Ghana Hajj Board, briefing the press in Accra. With him are Alhaji Alhassan Zakari (left), Hajj Agents Association, and Alhaji Masawudu Osman (right), Board Member. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
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Pilgrims without authorised visas to be arrested — Hajj Board

The Ghana Hajj Board has said it is collaborating with security agencies in Saudi Arabia to arrest Ghanaians who travel to perform this year’s hajj with unauthorised visas.

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It explained that there were four categories of visas issued by the Saudi Arabian authorities and among them, only the Hajj Visa was legitimate for performing hajj.

So far, the board said it was the only legitimate body recognised and mandated by Saudi authorities to organise and manage the affairs of Ghanaian pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

“We are collaborating with the security agencies in Saudi Arabia, so if you try to sneak into Madina and enter any of our tents to sleep or feed on our food, we will arrest you or put you in a situation that may be unpleasant for you,” the board said.

Fare

Although the board admitted that the price for this year's pilgrimage which is about GH¢75,000, was quite expensive, the board said it was the best offer since it included return tickets, accommodation, food, transportation within Saudi Arabia, safety and security.

“We, therefore, wish to caution prospective pilgrims and others to be wary of persons, including travel and tour agencies that are advertising their seeming abilities to ferry people to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a lesser amount of money.

“Those who get convinced by such persons and pay monies to them do so at their peril,” the Board Chairman, Alhaji Ben Abdullah Banda, said this at a press conference in Accra last Sunday.

Alhaji Banda said the first flight to Saudi Arabia for this year’s hajj would take off from Tamale today. He said it would carry more than 400 pilgrims who would be received in Madina by an advanced team of the board and officials of Ghana’s Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

The chairman said the airlifting in Tamale would end on Friday, May 31, 2024, while the Accra flight would take off from Sunday, June 2 to Tuesday, June 6, 2024. He said decent accommodation at various stations had already been secured while transportation within Saudi Arabia for the duration of the Hajj had also been arranged.

Alhaji Banda said a medical team had also been provided to attend to the health needs of the pilgrims throughout the period. Already, he said the board had carried out a series of orientation programmes in Yendi, Wa, Tamale, Kumasi and Accra to educate pilgrims on the dos and don’ts of hajj.

“We wish to admonish our prospective pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Ghana while in Saudi Arabia,” the chairman said.

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