Following a visit to the Old FBC Building and the National Railway Museum by President Julius Maada Bio, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt has stated that Tourism is now the backbone of development in Sierra Leone because the President when he assumed office put Tourism at the forefront of economic diversification.
She added that the Ministry has been crying for far too long for government attention to be focused on Tourism in terms of protecting and preserving national monuments which show the legacies of the country and tell people about its history. Her statement came following President Julius Maada Bio’s visit on Thursday 22nd April, 2021, together with officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA) and its sub-vented agencies to the above-mentioned sites where they participated in a conducted tour and unveiled a plaque at the Old Fourah Bay College building. The President and his team also visited the National Railway Museum. Both historic sites are located at Cline Town in Freetown.
His visit follows a visit by Tourism Ministry officials few weeks ago to ascertain the status of the edifices. The event is part of the package for the commemoration of the 60th Independence Anniversary and also historical, as President Bio becomes the first sitting president to visit the monument. Articulating the purpose of the presidential tour of the edifice, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt maintained that Sierra Leone’s contribution to education in the sub-region is immense and that the Old FBC edifice that was established in 1827 played an important part in attaining the name “Athens of West Africa” before it was relocated because of the Second World War, bringing to an end its 112 years’ stay at Cline Town.
She continued to say that the old FBC monument is one of the first declared heritages by UNESCO, adding that in order to continue the legacy of the Free Quality Education they must transform this monument in its authenticity. She revealed that government has committed funds to the restoration of the edifice. Giving his address, President Bio said that the visit is to pay homage to the country’s history and draw the attention of Sierra Leoneans to what made us the Athens of West Africa.
Despite the challenges the country had faced over the years, the President assured that with his leadership and the resilience of the people, Sierra Leone will be a great nation one again. Because of the edifice, Sierra Leone led in education and attracted students from the sub-region, and to show their commitment to education, it is but prudent to pay homage to this great edifice, he maintained. At the National Railway Museum, the President conducted a tour of the museum where he was shown historical artifacts that are important in terms of the colonial history of Sierra Leone.