Landowners call on O’Neill to fulfill his promise

​The landowners of Manumanu and Gabadi in Central Province are calling on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to fulfill his initial promise.

O’Neill announced in February that a Commission of Inquiry (COI) will be established to probe allegations into the Manumanu land deal.

However, he recently announced that the strength of the COI will be reduced to an administrative inquiry.

Manumanu committee chairman John Daroa said O’Neill must fulfil his promise to return the land in question to the customary landowners.

The landowners also demanded a written response from O’Neill of their initial correspondences dated February 8 and February 20 respectively.

The letter dated February 20 called for an inclusion in the Terms of Reference to be developed for the COI that was promised to be set up.

“For the Prime Minister to ignore and not bother to respond in writing clearly demonstrates his total disregard and disrespect over formal government protocol in business communication.

“It also demonstrates the Prime Minister’s disrespect for the people of Manumanu, Gabadi and the rest of Central Province,” Daroa said.

The landowners are demanding no less than a COI to investigate allegations surrounding the land acquisition.