President John Dramani Mahama has tasked the Hajj Committee to request for an increase in the quota of Ghanaian pilgrims that are allowed to make the annual hajj trip.
Currently, Saudi authorities have given Ghana a quota of a little under 5,500 but Mr Mahama believes it could be increased to 7000.
Many pilgrims were left stranded at the Kotoka International Airport this year and were unable to make the trip to Mecca despite going through the necessary formalities.
The stranded pilgrims accused the hajj authorities of deceiving them and leaving them at the mercy of the weather and poor living conditions at the Hajj Village.
Addressing Muslims as part of the Eid ul-Adha celebrations at the Black Star Square in Accra on Monday September 12, Mr Mahama disclosed that he had directed the Hajj Committee to speak to the Saudi authorities to increase the number of Ghanaian pilgrims for next year’s hajj.
“To all who due to certain reasons were unable to embark on the hajj this year, this was due to two main factors: first, it was the airlifting of 2000 persons in the Tamale international airport, which was very well patronised to reduce the quota of those who took off in Accra. Second is the dramatic growth of pilgrim numbers beyond the quota that has been assigned to Ghana by the Saudi authorities. I have asked our hajj committee to request an increase in our quota of pilgrims from the current 5424 to 7000 pilgrims next year,” Mr Mahama stated.
Over 5,000 Ghanaian Muslims made the trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this year’s pilgrimage. However, 39 persons, all women, were repatriated. A few were also unable to make the trip. Mr Mahama apologised to them saying: “I wish to express my regret to all who due to certain reasons were unable to embark on the Hajj this year.”