- The Chief Imam of Ghana, Sheikh Nuhu Sharabutu, has backed the government's order to investigate the reasons why many would-be Ghanaian pilgrims were stranded at airport for almost two weeks.
The backing was contained in the chief cleric's address to a huge congregation of Muslim worshippers who celebrated the feast of sacrifice [Eid-ul-adha] at the Independence Square in the capital Accra.
Imam Sharabutu said an official investigation should help to bring to an end what he described as the “flagrant culture of impunity” that had characterised the management of the country's hajj over the years.
“Pilgrimage is one of the most important pillars of Islam but its poor organisation has become annual ritual in the country,” he said, believing that it was about time that the fear of God was allowed to take firm hold in the way hajj the country's hajj is being managed.
The cleric's comments followed the Interior Minister's order to arrest and prosecute the interim hajj management committee members. Kwamena Bartels was full of fury upon visiting the 2,700 stranded intending pilgrims at the airport.
“We will arrest the members of the committee, investigate them and put them in jail if found guilty”, he said, promising that the government would retrieve all the money paid by the would-be pilgrims from the committee members and give it back to the disappointed pilgrims.
The would-be pilgrims have been sleeping in deplorable conditions at the Accra Airport since December 7, desperately waiting for the hajj committee to secure flights for them to Mecca to no avail.
This year’s pilgrims left Accra for Jeddah in the early hours of December 15 and 16 respectively on board a chartered flight after a long wait at the Kotoka International Airport.
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