By Alhaji Saidu Kamara.
The Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, on Monday assured Sierra Leoneans that next year’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be increased from 800 to 1,500.
He was speaking at the National Stadium where the President (Rtd.) Brig. Julius Maada Bio and other senior government functionaries bade farewell to 828 Sierra Leonean Pilgrims who will join their Muslim brothers and sisters to perform this year’s Hajj.
He said they have put everything in place to ensure that this year’s Hajj is successful and well organized. He said five members of the Hajj Committee have earlier departed to Saudi Arabia as advance party to receive our brothers and sisters. They will be assisted by officials from the Sierra Leone Embassy in Saudi and officials of the Ministry of Hajj Affairs.
The Vice President said an official letter has been dispatched to the government of Saudi Arabia to increase the quota of Sierra Leone from 800 to 1,500 for which, he said the government of Saudi Arabia has consented to the increase of the Sierra Leone quota from 800 to 1,500 with effect from next year.
The President, (Rtd.) Brigadier Julius Maada Bio thanked the Vice President, Ministry of Social Welfare and Members of the Sierra Leone Hajj Committee for a job well done. He maintained that compared to the 2017 Hajj, which was marred by corruption and misappropriation of funds, this year`s Hajj was properly organized and transparent for which the Government received commendation from the public.
He said this year, we are proud to say everyone will travel and no one will be disgracefully abandoned at Youyi Building or Lungi as was done last year, he lamented.
The first batch of 420 Sierra Leonean left the shores of Freetown on Monday night for the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, while the other batch travelled yesterday.