Koiari landowners of Central Province have shut down and locked the Rouna 2 hydrostation early this morning in frustration over the lack of urgency in addressing their grievances.
They also felled trees and rolled huge boulders onto the middle of the Sogeri road. This was around 1am today.
Around 10am, NCD metropolitan superintendent, Perou N’Dranou, his officers and PNG Power staff convoyed up the winding road, cutting away the felled trees as they went.
The convoy stopped right in front of the Rouna 2 hydrostation, where a large group of frustrated locals with placards were.
Speaking on behalf of his people, Minsy Iarea said they have contributed so much to PNG’s growth, yet they remain poor.
“I should be benefitting from my land but instead, other people are,” he said.
“My children’s and grandchildren’s future is useless because I’ve never done my land vetting, land mobilisation. Those funds were especially for these purposes.”
Iarea told police that paper landowner groups are popping up and claiming payment that rightfully belongs to his people.
“The first K10 million went missing; they bought vehicles, slept in luxurious hotels in town. Most of these public servants, they benefitted from that money too,” he said.
“Even some policemen too – whom we know.”
They gave their five-point petition to N’Dranou to hand over to the Prime Minister, his Deputy and Treasury Secretary, Dairi Vele.
The points in their petition are:
- K10 million payment by this afternoon
- Give reason why payment was delayed even though all requirements have been met
- Recognise them as legitimate landowners of the hinterlands, catchment, impacted and installation areas – Koiari resource owners as per NEC decision 356/2013
- Demand for no ‘bel isi’ or ‘bel kol’ money – we have been lied to in that way time and again
- Comply with all of the above points and you can access your power and water
The landowners, whilst displaying the hydrostation’s key, said they will be on ground until they get their payment.
In response, the metropolitan superintendent urged them to go to the city and present their grievance, saying responsible leaders will see them and address them properly.
He also told them that the majority of innocent residents will suffer if they continue their protest.
N’Dranou urged them to clear the road and let innocent commuters through while he goes back to the city to present their petition.
(Minsy Iarea speaking for his people)