Personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) are adequately prepared to ensure a successful conduct of the 2016 Hajj activities in Tamale.
Ahead of the event, some selected personnel of the Northern Regional GIS command have undergone intensive capacity building training regime and simulation exercises.
This forms part of government’s historical paradigm shift to decentralize the 2016 Hajj event with a guarantee that the first flight will fly direct from the Tamale International Airport to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on August 19, 2016.
The GIS Northern Regional Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Immigration, Eric Afari in a Citi News interview said, “The command is excited to be part of this historic event and has resolved to play its control and facilitation role as efficient as the standards require to accelerate the seamless transformation of the Tamale Airport.”
He said the training exercises have repositioned and sharpened the personnel competences and skills on how to process would-be pilgrims for the eventual boarding and the scheduled flight dates in line with national security dictates.
Eric Afari charged his officers to with outmost care handle the mass of pilgrims scheduled to fly from Tamale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He hinted his command’s intention to train accredited Hajj Agents operating in the three regions of the north saying, “In a similar vein, the command has planned some sensitization training programmes in the next few days for the accredited Hajj agents in the three northern regions in recognition of their intermediary role in the Hajj enterprise.”
“The agents are seen as a critical link in the processing value-chain and therefore deserve special attention,” he highlighted.
Eric Afari added, “The tailor-made training workshop therefore aims at raising the knowledge and awareness of the agents on the application of the relevant provisions of the immigration laws and in particular the immigration control requirements at the airport.”
He anticipated that the workshop will positively impact on the planning and preparations of would-be pilgrims who are required to go through immigration control systems.
National Hajj Committee’s preparations
In a related development, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim’s led National Hajj Committee is putting up a Hajj village at the Tamale Jubilee Park.
Work on the village is 80 percent complete and President John Dramani Mahama is expected to bid the would-be pilgrims farewell in Tamale.
Most residents of Tamale in a Citi News interview expressed their happiness over this development.
Some of them recalled the risk involved in travelling by road from Tamale to Accra for take-off to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
They commended government for fulfilling one of its 2012 campaign promises to facilitate the first ever direct flight from the Tamale Airport to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This development will certainly boost small scale enterprises in the Tamale Metropolis.
Business people will take advantage of the influx of prospective pilgrims at the Tamale Hajj village and maximize profit.
Food vendors, taxi drivers, okada men, telecommunication service providers among others will form part of the beneficiaries.
Security beef up
Security operatives would have to intensify their operations at the Hajj village and in the Tamale Township.
Some miscreants might also take undue advantage of the event to steal from would-be pilgrims especially strangers.
Motorbikes and cellular phones thievery is already on the rise for which reason maximum security should be guaranteed.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana