The government has been urged to re- open immigration offices in the country and start the issuance of passports to Kenyans wishing to travel. Regional

immigration offices in Garissa, Embu, Nakuru and Eldoret were shut down last year by Immigration director Maj Gen (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa who cited the move as an effort to fight insecurity and prevent non-Kenyans from acquiring travel documents. Speaking over the weekend at a media briefing on Hajj (pilgrimage), Kenya Hajj Mission vice chairman Shariff Hussein appealed to the Ministry of Internal Security together with the department   of immigration to re-open the offices in order to facilitate the issuance of passports to Kenyans going for Hajj in Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He said the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia has set new Hajj regulations which include the submission of the details of hujjaj (pilgrims) in advance stressing that the new regulations cannot be met with the closure of the offices.

“We are appealing to the Minister of Internal Security and the department of immigration to start issuing passports from today onwards. We are also appealing for the re-opening of passport issuance offices in Garissa, Embu, Nakuru and Eldoret,” said Shariff Hussein. The same sentiments were echoed by Abbas Muhammad, a Hajj agent from North Eastern who made a passionate appeal to the Government to reopen Garissa immigration offices and save applicants from the region from making torturous journey to the capital for the documents. He noted that the people of North Eastern are suffering and wondered how a decision to close down such resourceful office could still be a mystery. Shariff Hussein who is also the national organizing secretary of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) said due to the new regulations set by the Ministry of Hajj, Kenyan Muslims planning to travel to Mecca for this year’s Hajj should hasten and register themselves with immediate effect with either Hajj Mission offices or companies to avoid inconveniences and last minute rush.



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