This was the strong message given to the landowners of Markham valley in Morobe Province.
Petty crimes, drug and alcohol abuse and social unrest are just some of the issues faced by customary landowners when they sell their land to outsiders.
The violent rape and killing of a woman at Gabsongkeg village of Wampar LLG reinforced this message as concerned women protested the heinous act on August 28th.
Ward 17 woman leader, Alice Uruaka, strongly spoke against the selling of land to outsiders.
“Wanpla hap tok mi sa mekim olgeta taim em, ‘yu salim graun, yu salim laif’,” she said.
The mother-of-five, who has four daughters, believes landowners open their doors to trouble when they sell their birth right. She highlighted the August 16th rape and killing of a local woman as an example of allowing outsiders to settle on traditional land.
“Lo fiutsa, mi no save ol pikinini meri bai stap olsem wanem.”
Uruaka said as landowners of the proposed Nadzab Township, their future is unclear considering there is also a bad side to development.
“Mi biliv olsem taunship, em ba planti hevi kamap,” she stated.
This was one of the reasons why the women of Gabsongkeg marched to petition the Wampar LLG leaders to push for the construction of a police station in the Nadzab market.
After receiving their petition, ward 17 councillor and Wampar LLG deputy president, Bill Justin, acknowledged that a police station is critical for the community.
“Mipla bai toktok strong wantem Memba, wantem president, lo bai mipla mas putim wanpla polis steisen bikos displa wod 17 em wanpla bikpla eria. Planti projek bai kamap na planti lo en oda problem tu bai rais. That’s why yumi nidim polis steisen lo stap insait lo hia tu.”
(Ward 17 – Gabsongkeg woman leader, Alice Uruaka, speaking at the protest)