Muslims, who have prepared for this year’s Hajj in Mecca, will not be issued visas by the Ministry of Hajj Affairs in Saudi Arabia, as a result of the Ebola outbreak.
In a letter dated 12th August 2014 signed by the Minister of Hajj Affairs, all countries that have been confirmed by World Health Organisation as having the Ebola disease, will not be issued with visa to proceed on Hajj 2014.
In response, the government said they have held several consultations between the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Ministry of Hajj Affairs in Saudi Arabia, in an effort to have an understanding of our situation and allow our pilgrims to proceed on Hajj.
But unfortunately and with heavy hearts, at this latter point, we have been informed by the Hajj Affairs Ministry in a letter dated 12th August 2014 and received on August 15th, 2014, that all countries with Ebola outbreak will not be granted visas.
The Government of Sierra Leone in a press release, stated that in a bid to facilitate 2014 Hajj, a three-man delegation led by the Minister of Social Welfare Alhaji Moijue Kaikai, Special Adviser to the President, Honorable Nuru Deen Sankoh Yillah and a member of the Hajj Committee, Dr Ramadan Jalloh visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in June 2014.
The Release went on that during their visit, the following agreements have been concluded for a total of 1000 intending pilgrims from Sierra Leone: air craft services agreement signed with Mr Ahmed Sultan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of NAS Air to transport all 1000 pilgrims from Sierra Leone to the Kingdom and back.
The Release further states that an advance payment of $500,000 had already been made; service contracts signed with Hajj Ministry Office in Mecca and obtained the username and password for registration of pilgrims.
The release states that a Car syndicate contract signed by the transportation regulations committee with the Chairman Ahmed Abdallah Sambawo of the car syndicate Office in Mecca and Madina.
It states that the United Agency signed contracts which is a package for both Mina and Arafaat services and transportation costs between Mecca and Madina and the Holy cities of Minna, Arafaat and Muzdalifah.
The Committee also signed an agreement with the Mu’asassat in Mecca to provide food, foams, pillows and blankets for all 1000 pilgrims during their stay in Minna and Arafaat.
The release noted that the Committee signed agreement for tent and housing caution fees with the Mu’asassat in Mecca through our Hajj account in the France Saudi Bank and an advance of $253,000 for 1,000 pilgrims has been paid; while for the Medina Housing, a total of Le 146,000 has been paid in full.
The Ministry of Social Welfare says all those who have paid into the Hajj Account are further advised to contact the Ministry.
By Abibatu Kamara
Friday August 22, 2014