National Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu has expressed gratitude to John Dramani Mahama for making it possible for pilgrims to fly straight from Tamale in the Northern Region to Medina in Saudi Arabia.
During a ceremony to see off the first batch of pilgrims on Friday August 19, the Islamic leader also advised Ghanaians to desist from any act that would destabilise the peace that the nation is currently enjoying before, during, and after the December elections.
He charged all pilgrims to remember the nation and the president in prayer as they embark on the trip to the holy land.
“Pray for His Excellency, pray for Ghana and everyone. We have to look at the peace in Ghana and never do anything to destabilise the peace. This [direct flight from Tamale] is a historic event… For the first time pilgrims from the three northern parts of Ghana are taking off from Tamale direct to the airport in Medina. All power belong to Almighty Allah and if he gives part of it to somebody, you should respect that person and pray for that person. His Excellency John Mahama is a gift to us. May God take care of him and all of us,” he indicated through an interpreter.
The first batch of 500 hajj pilgrims were airlifted in a historic Boeing 747 flight from the upgraded Tamale Airport to Saudi Arabia for this year’s pilgrimage.
A total of 1,500 prospective pilgrims from the three regions in the north of the country will be airlifted from the Tamale Airport.
Only three flights have been scheduled for the Tamale pilot project. There will also be eight flights from the southern part of the country from the Kotoka International Airport for the remainder of the more than 5,000 pilgrims travelling to Mecca this year.