Some Muslim pilgrims expected to travel to Mecca have expressed disappointment in their leadership after they were left stranded at the Accra Hajj Village for hours.
According to some of them, all their passports have been withheld by the Hajj Board, while some alleged their names have been intentionally removed from the final list of travellers.
They added the Hajj Board promised to prioritise the 2019 batch but they are yet to be airlifted, despite proof of their documentation.
With diminished hopes, they have sworn to get the refund of their money.
“They said they cannot find my passport; I am broken, I don’t want to cry but it’s not easy. We were told those who paid in 2019 are going to be among the first passengers but that did not happen.
“The holiness of the whole issue, probably, the process is not as holy as the activity itself. Now, I am sitting here with no hope. This time, we are not going to leave the money with them,” they told JoyNews.
Over 3,000 pilgrim hopefuls are expected to take part in the exercise.
The first batch of over 400 pilgrims departed from the country to Saudi Arabia on June 20, 2022.
The Chairman of the Hajj Board, Sheikh Ibrahim C. Quaye, said the Board had concluded all negotiations and arrangements with service providers in Mecca, Jeddah and Madina on housing, transport, medical, flight and other services.
He added that they had fulfilled their pledge to Muslims on changing the face of Hajj in Ghana for the better.
“It is during our term that Ghana has been described as the best among the non-Arab countries in Hajj, and we are poised to even do more in the coming years to gain more recognition.”
But the disappointed pilgrims maintain that the Hajj Board has been poor with its communication to them.
In a response, the Communications Director for the Board, Abdul Rahman Gomda, says they had a short time to prepare for the overwhelming number of people.
“I think we were overwhelmed by the sheer number of such challenges. Honestly, we really apologise to those who suffered inconveniences as a result of these challenges. There have been instances of misplaced passports but we won’t say it’s a result of the Board misplacing these passports.
“The impression is that Hajj Board members were directly involved… we won’t put the blame at the doorstep of the Board,” he said.