From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Prof. Eldred Jones Launches ‘Land Tenure’ Book by Former Chief Justice Dr. Ade Renner Thomas
By Sylvia Blyden & Dauda Koroma
Sep 8, 2010, 17:14

Retired Principal of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Professor Emeritus Eldred Jones has launched a new literature on Sierra Leone’s Land Tenure system which is a work by the former Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ade Renner-Thomas. The auspicious ceremony to launch the book entitled as: “LAND TENURE IN SIERRA LEONE: The Law, Dualism & the Making of a Land Policy” took place in an academically charged atmosphere at the British Council on Tuesday 7th September 2010 which also happened to be the 65th Birthday of the author.

In his delivery, the erudite Professor said he felt honoured to be called upon to perform such a role in his capacity as an academic professor.  He referred to the former Chief Justice Dr. Ade Renner-Thomas as a great academic force in Sierra Leone. He said the book will make readers widen their knowledge in Land Tenure System in Sierra Leone as it expansively deals with land ownership and the making of land policy. He in that regard called on prospective readers to make timely purchase of copies of the book.

In his short exposition, the Minister of Lands and the Environment, Dr. Denis Sandy impressed that no doubt the book is an embodiment of knowledge put together by Dr. Renner-Thomas on our land tenure system. He said it is surely a material to help people know about the laws and other information regarding land matters in the country. 

“We are in fervent appreciation for this publication and it is hoped that with this, people will know their rights and limitations in line with government policies,” the minister stated.

For his part, the author informed that it took many tasking years to compile the information that has today turned into a success. He said the book was first in a series to follow, and that it is worth reading the first edition to be au fait with the land tenure system in Sierra Leone.

“There is everything in this work for law makers, lawyers, students, government officials who will want to know about land business with particular reference to Sierra Leone,” Dr. Renner-Thomas briefed the audience.

This book itself is billed as giving “a brief account of the background to the dual land tenure system in force in Sierra Leone and explains the reasons why the dualism derived from the different colonial experience of the former Colony and Protectorate of Sierra Leone still persists almost fifty years after the two entities were merged to form a unitary State of Sierra Leone”.

The book also “gives an account, for the benefit of both law students and legal practitioners, of the main features of the English derived land law in the Western Area and of the forms of land holding in the Provinces which are governed predominately by customary law” whilst highlighting “the practical problems that legal practitioners may be confronted with in advising clients wanting to enter into transactions involving land in Sierra Leone and in drafting legal documents for the creation or transfer of interests in land in different parts of the country”.

“By giving an account of developments relating to policy initiatives and by laying bare the achievements and shortcomings of land tenure reform to date, the book aims to stimulate debate on current proposals for reform not only among law students and practitioners of the law but also among policy makers and members of the wider non-legal community It offers a brief but constructive criticism of the dual land tenure system and offers some proposals for reform of the system changes in the light of stated policies,” a further review of the book states.

In attendance last evening were eminent members of Sierra Leone’s academia, members of the Bar Association, the Judiciary and highly placed government dignitaries some of who made brief contributions. Significant amongst these contributions were lofty Book Reviews read out.

The book is available at the British Council at the cost of Le.120,000 (One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Leones) per copy. It is reported that it will also be available from other outlets and can currently be obtained as an e-book through Internet downloads via and also can be ordered online for those living in the Diaspora. Meanwhile, Awareness Times will soon publish some of the reviews of the book including the ones by two famous Lawyers, Berthan Macauley jnr. and Abdul Tejan-Cole Esq as read out on their behalf by Hon. Justice N.C. Browne-Marke and Lawyer Reginald Fynn respectively.

Chairman of the occasion was another academic luminary, Dr. Kosonike Koso-Thomas whilst earlier, the guests were welcomed by Mrs. Jennifer Renner-Thomas. Abundant refreshments were afterwards made available whilst the author himself personally autographed copies of the Book which invited Guests queued up to purchase. All in all, it was a highly successful occasion that saw the crème of Academia and Law in Sierra Leone troop up to the British Council to honour the event.

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