LLG officer: Majority for Sepik SABL

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 24th January 2012

THE majority of the people in the Sausso local level government in East Sepik want the Special Business Lease (SABL) granted by the government under portion 144C for development of oil palm on the Sepik plains to stay.
They said a recent statement by Jimmy Harinagu, from Rofundogum village, claiming that the people of the LLG area were unhappy with the SABL was incorrect.
Sausso LLG district officer Sixtus Bandi and Yangoru-Saussia district lands manager Tomis Morigawa, who are from the area, said in a joint statement last week Harinagu did not represent majority of the people as he claimed.
They said Harinagu had aligned himself with a non-governmental organisation and “is fighting official government policies on customary land reform to empower landowners to meaningfully do business on their own land in the Sausso LLG area”.
The Sausso LLG sponsored a motion and resolved in the council chambers to support the project under SABL portion 144C.
The ward members collectively represent the 21 ward areas in the LLG, which means that majority of the people are in favour of growing oil palm on consented parcels of land at Sausso.
Bandi said according to official information at Kubalia government files, the land had not been alienated or taken away from the customary landowners as reported in the media.
He said this was a special business lease for 99 years on certain parcels of land selected and consent given by customary landowners for growing oil palm inside portion 144C.
He said the Turubu oil palm project was never done in isolation because there was a warden hearing at Tumarau Primary School where truck-loads of people from the East and West Coast, Turubu and Sausso areas in the province attended.
Bandi said marketing and attracting foreign investors to Sausso LLG area was an initiative of the LLG and people who aligned themselves with NGOs to destroy land development initiatives must be warned that school leavers needed employment and only large scale agriculture industry would provide jobs for them.