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Pilgrims To Mecca Urged To Respect August 16 Deadline 

By Chris Mbunwe — The Chair of the National Hajj Committee has urged candidates for pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to respect the deadline of August 16, else they will be disqualified.

Northwest Muslims expected in Saudi Arabia

Speaking to the representatives of Muslim communities and Guides, in Bamenda during a one-day sensitisation workshop on June 26, the Technical Adviser No 1 in the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Boubakani Oumarou, on behalf of the Minister-Chair of the National Hajj Committee, announced that, from September 20 to October 20,2013, Cameroon pilgrims shall join pilgrims world over to undertake the pilgrimage to the holy lands of Islam in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Boubakani said the important religious meeting, bringing together more than three million pilgrims, requires that both the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Governments of the countries of origin of the Muslim faithful, take special measures on lodging, transportation, health and security.  He said several meetings have been held by the Governments of Cameroon and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, taking special measures to ensure good preparations and a hitch-free participation of Cameroonians.

These measures touch on; the Hajj fare and registration conditions; transportation, lodging, hygiene and sanitation, management sensitisation of pilgrims and their stay in Saudi Arabia and discipline. In accordance with the recommendation of the National Hajj Committee, the 2013 Hajj fare stands at FCFA 1,931,350 million covering the following; flight ticket, lodging at Mecca and Medina, services at Saudi Arabia, Moassassa   supplementary services, refundable charges, medical and administrative charges, guide  fee among others.

Muslims were informed that persons approved as the 2013 Hajj guides shall be in charge of collecting funds from pilgrims and paying them on or before August 16 into a one-stop shop at Afriland First Bank in charge of all Hajj financial operations.

“Since the number of pilgrims expected stands at 3,500 in accordance with the quotas determined by Saudi authorities, due to ongoing works to expand the Kaaba, registration shall, therefore, stop as soon as this number is reached,” Boubakani re-iterated. The guides, were told to assist the pilgrims in their passport formalities before the competent authorities of the General Delegation of National Security and forward them to the one stop shop for onward transmission to the embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the issuance of the visa.

In Mecca and Medina, Cameroonian pilgrims will be lodged in buildings approved in accordance with criteria defined by the National Hajj Committee, namely; sanitation, proximity  and nearness  to the two Holy Mosques, as well as with the requirements of Saudi Arabian authorities, in this case the renting of buildings with a “Tasrih” (authorisation from the Ministry of Hajj).  He urged pilgrims to make good use of the installation which have been made available.

Dr. Adoum Ahamat, on the delegation from Yaounde, talked on hygiene and sanitation, emphasising that all pilgrims must have received two important vaccines before departure – the vaccines must be recorded in the international vaccination cards against yellow fever and meningitis. There is also a vaccine for influenza issued by the Centre Pasteur, Yaounde, Garoua, or by Regional Delegations of Public Health.

“A pilgrim must present a health record book freely issued by the National Hajj Committee and showing the results of a medical test conducted by a medical practitioner approved by a Regional Delegate of Public Health. These vaccination cards and health record books shall be checked during boarding at the Douala and Garoua airports.  Similarly, as part of the monitoring of epidemiological diseases, the Saudi Arabia authorities will carry out preventive checks.

The Secretary General at the Northwest Governor’s office, Absalom Monono Woloa, thanked the Yaounde delegation for coming early and called on the pilgrims to be disciplined during their stay in Saudi Arabia. He said, since most pilgrims in Cameroon live in rural areas where access to information is difficult, the approved guides should give potential pilgrims the right information on flight schedules, travelling conditions and stay in Saud Arabia.

First published in The Post print edition no 01443

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