The Upper West Regional office of the Ghana Museum and Monument Board (GMMB) is in dire need of support from the government and other donor bodies, to help save the cultural heritage of Northern Ghana from extinction.
The GMMB office in the Region, which currently oversees the conservation and restoration of monuments in Northern Ghana is saddled with numerous challenges such as lack of vehicles for monitoring, inadequate funding and staffing for effective operations.
Mr Kenneth Fomjegeba, the Upper West Regional Head of the GMMB, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa on Wednesday, noted that the office needed at least two vehicles for effective monitoring and inspection of the monuments and sites in its catchment area and conveying trades men to sites for restoration.
“We call on the Presidency, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts and donors to come to our aid to enable us preserve the beautiful tradition and cultural heritage of Northern Ghana,” he said.
He identified some of the monuments in his operational area to include: Nakore Ancient Mosque, Gwollu Slave Defense Wall, George Ekem Fergusson Grave Yard in Wa and Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Detention centre in Lawra in the Upper West Region, and the Larabanga Ancient Mosque in the Savannah Region.
Mr Fomjegeba said those monuments needed regular monitoring and conservation, but that the lack of vehicle for the office and inadequate financing and other logistical constraints crippled their efforts to carry out those crucial activities on regular basis.
He said they could only place calls to people at the sites for information regarding the monuments due to their inability to move to any of those sites.
The GMMB in the Region currently had eight staff-three administrative and five tradesmen including carpenters, painters and masons which, Mr Fomjegeba said, was woefully inadequate for day-to-day running of the activities of the Board.
He said the monuments served as a source of research and education as well as a source of historical narratives to people hence the need for concerted efforts to preserve them.
According to him, the George Ekem Fergusson Grave Yard had been given a facelift while plans were underway to do a landscape and horticultural designs at the site, which served as tourists’ attraction.
He observed that if they were adequately supported to give a facelift to the monuments in the area, particularly in the Upper West Region, they would attract tourists to the Region to generate revenue.
He indicated that they had secured a site, with the necessary architectural designs and budgeting done for the construction of a museum in the Upper West Region, saying “What we want is the support to construct it”.
He said they currently had a collection of sculptures, basketry, idols, artefacts and photographs, and that, when established, the museum would serve as information centre for education and research on the culture and tradition of the people in the Region.
The MMB was established in 1957, with Act 387 in 1969 to give it legal backing, and was further strengthened by a Legislative Instrument (L.I 29) in 1973.