Land grabbing worries villagers

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The National, Thursday July 7th, 2016

Clan members of a Motu-Koitabu village in the National Capital District are calling on the governor and the Lands Department to clarify if they are allowing outsiders to settle on customary land.
The Ogoni-Dabunari clan of Baruni village raised their concern yesterday when petitioning settlers who have occupied the portion of  their land at the back of Gerehu Stage 7 recently.
“When we confronted them, they told us that Governor Powes Parkop gave them the land,” clan member Maraga Gata told The National.
“As far as we know, that is a customary land and we have been hunting and gardening there since childhood.
“People are flooding in now, taxis are coming in, buses are coming in and people are clearing it because they have got blocks. We have no control over these people and this land grabbing.
“We realised that they have been moving in during the night. The Hagen went, the Wabag went and the Tari went,” Gata said.
“When we want to go fishing, we find that there are pegs everywhere. People are tying plastic everywhere to secure their mark.
“It’s our traditional land but now all our rights are being deprived by Papua New Guineans flocking in to have our land.
“We want the National Capital District Commission and the government agencies to clarify the rightful landowners because we know that it is our land.
“The confusion is giving the public an opportunity to come and settle.”
National Capital District Met Supt Benjamin Turi said Parkop had responded saying that it was a traditional land.
Turi urged the Lands Department to follow necessary requirements before issuing land titles.

“Every day we receive eviction complaints and land grabbing issues.” he said.
He warned that failure to follow procedures to allocate land would be treated as fraud.