Denis Sandy, Lands Minister

The Land for Life Sierra Leone Consortium together with the National Coalition on Community Legal Empowerment (NaCCLE), the Natural Resources Governance and Extractive Justice Network (NaRGEJ) and Green Scenery Sierra Leone has in a joint statement expressed concern on Sierra Leone’s poor Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) performance on Land Right and Access and Control of Natural Resources.

They stated that Sierra Leone’s performance on Lands and Natural Resources is impeded by the delay of land law reforms and government failure to treat land related conflicts with utmost urgency and seriousness.

They congratulated the government of Sierra Leone for passing 13 out of the 20 MCC development indicators, but that they are perturbed by the consistent avoidable failure of government in the areas of Land Rights and Access which is 24% and Natural Resources Protection which is 42%.

They called on the government and the public to take action in those critical domains, adding that certain institutions within government structure have forestalled progress in the efforts to promote land rights, access and the protection of natural resources.

They reminded the public that government inaction on the blatant abuse of people’s right to land in the SOCFIN Oil investment community of Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun District which has prolonged conflict that has claimed the lives and properties of some people.

They added that it has disempowered citizens and deprived women from using their land for economic livelihood activities, and has exacerbated the poverty in the lives of jobless youths who cannot use their lands to farm adding that the findings of the government technical committee set up to investigate the conflict corroborated allegations by affected communities since 2011.

They also highlighted that there are land conflicts within Freetown and other urban cities where government is accused of repossessing private lands in a wrongful manner.

In order to avert the exacerbation of reoccurrence of these unwanted incidents and to contribute to promoting land rights, protection of tenure security and enhancement of responsible and rights-based land-based investment, the coalition called on government to take decisive actions on the forestalled legislative reform processes, urgently address pending community grievance and further collaborate with all relevant actors to provide sustainable and amicable solution to land rights, human rights and the protection of natural resources in Sierra Leone.