The Deputy Minister went on to state that the Ministry and the Hajj Committee are working amicably in accordance with the values of the ‘New Direction’ which are discipline, commitment, competency and service delivery in ensuring that the 2018 Hajj is problem free.
Updating the Hon. vice president and first lady, the Chairman for the Fifteen Man Hajj Committee, Alhaji Mutada Sesay said the committee went on a Pre-Hajj visit to Mecca to see which resources they can harness. He said they visited the Hajj Ministry, community members and students.
In Sierra Leone, Alhaji Mutala said the team has been embarking on standard operating procedures for the 2018 Hajj and that among them was a rigorous Hajj Community Sensitization informing intended pilgrims on the process they should undertake before going to Mecca.
He said the Committee has registered on E-Hajj potter and that names of fully paid up members have been processed.
In her statement, the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Baindu Dassama said this year’s Hajj process will be different from the previous ones as it was the first time that an Outreach Committee was set up to educate intended pilgrims on the processes and procedures one should embark on before performing his/her hajj.
Minister Dassama commended the country’s embassy in Saudi for their support in putting mechanisms in place to ensure that this year’s Hajj is a success.
The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Fatima Bio in her statement commended the Hajj Committee as it comprises honest and dedicated people.
Mrs. Bio described hajj as one of the most important activities for Muslim worldwide. She said every Muslim has a dream of going to Mecca to offer prayers and ask for forgiveness to live a better life hereafter.
She said hajj is considered as an opportunity to mop away sins and start anew and that intended pilgrims will search to intensify their faith on the hajj process as they enter into a divine wholesomeness; that is intended at detaching signs of materialism, worldly bliss and focused on their inner self over external manifestation.
She assured the gathering that, this year’s Hajj scholarships will benefit its rightful beneficiaries and not business pilgrims. She called on the Committee to continue their good work and ensure that they work towards the President’s commitment to a successful Hajj and the benefit of Sierra Leonean Muslims.
Hon. Vice President Dr. Juldeh Jalloh in his keynote address thanked the Minister and her deputy, staff of the Ministry and the Committee members for their tireless efforts in ensuring that this year’s Hajj will be one with major differences.
He said the previous Hajj Committee was comprised of over 35 members and that upon assuming office as Vice President with the mandate of supervising the Hajj process, he drastically reduced the number to 15.
VP Jalloh went on that the 15 man Hajj Committee members have a mandate to work on clear terms of reference and to advice government on steps to undertake for a successful 2018 Hajj.
He furthered that the Committee was first set up as a Policy Advisory Committee but was later transformed into a Strategic and Operational Committee to man the affairs of the Hajj process.
Hon. Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh maintained that the processes and procedures to manage a successful hajj is a challenged with time bound.
Speaking on one of the constraints usually faced with pilgrims in Mecca he said was lack of orientation. He called on the 15 man Committee to pay special attention on orientation and decentralization of the prerequisite conditions before going for the pilgrimage.
He called on the Committee’s PR Unit to embark on a massive sensitization campaign on orientation and the dissemination of orientation videos on both traditional and social media. Adding that the PR Unit should also sensitize intended pilgrims on the age limit as it is a procedure from Saudi and not from the government of Sierra Leone.
He ended up by assuring the Committee of His Excellency Julius Maada Bio’s overwhelming support to their work.