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01.08.2004 Regional News

Salaga devastated due to slavery- Boniface

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Salaga (N/R) August 1, GNA- Mr Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City has said social life at Salaga is devastated because of slavery activities that took place about 400 years ago. He said Salaga, used to be the largest slave market in the country, some years back adding, "but now the entire population in the Northern region can not be compared to the past".

Mr Boniface who is also the Member of Parliament for Salaga said this when tourists participating in this year's Emancipation Day celebration visited the Salaga slave market and other slavery related monuments in Salaga. "Salaga which, means expansion, is now a very small place because of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade" he added.

The Minister said because of such activities a lot of settlers that came to Salaga to trade left and settled at places including the Salaga Market in James Town in Accra. He mentioned that this year's Emancipation Day Celebration, under the theme "Retracing our steps - The path to development" hoped to unveil the true story of the slave trade. He said the government would encourage the private sector to publish the findings of slavery to enable children to know the true story of the trade. "It is the first time a government has brought people from the Diaspora to the northern region to experience what their ancestors went through and this would be developed to involve the whole of the northern region in subsequent years," he said.

Mr Boniface said a receptive centre to cost over a billion cedis, currently under construction, where tourists could access information would be ready in Salaga soon.

The receptive centre he said would indirectly reduce the level of poverty in Salaga, saying, "Salaga is an example of what tourism can do for people; the receptive facilities and museum will naturally bring more and more people to the place, which, means more investment". He advised the people to take advantage of such tourists' attractions and be courteous in dealing with visitors.

Mr Charles Bintin, Deputy Northern Regional Minister said the Emancipation Celebrations should take a bigger dimension involving the Northern and southern Ghana. He called for more investment by the people of the Diaspora.