VANIMO Village Welfare Association interim chairman Gabriel Dekwalen says Vanimo urban land belongs to the people of Vanimo.
“It is our birth right,” he said when commenting on a dispute among four parties over the ownership of the land.
The four are Vanimo village (west coast Vanimo), Narimo clan (west coast Vanimo), Ningra village (East Coast Vanimo) and Warapu village (west coast Aitape).
Mr Dekwalen said Vanimo village, through its seven clans, presented its claims to the seven portions of Vanimo urban land in 1987.
“Then in 1989, the three other groups also put in their claims for the same portion of land.
“This resulted in the National Land title hearing refusing to accept payment for Vanimo village as the rightful landowners,” he said.
Mr Dekwalen told The National that the four parties were then referred to land mediators.
He claimed that when the mediators’ findings were presented in the local Land Court, it ruled in favour of Vanimo.
Mr Dekwalen said the other parties then appealed to the District Land Court.
“Even the District Land Court upheld the decision in 1992.” he said.