MOTU-Koita chairman Miria Ikupu has thrown his support behind the striking Koiari landowners, owners of the Rouna hydropower and Sirinumu dam in Central, The National reports. Protests by the villagers had stopped water and electricity supply reaching Port Moresby and the surrounding areas since Tuesday.
Services were reportedly restored by late yesterday afternoon.
Ikupu said in a statement yesterday that the national government had to honour the memorandum of understanding and memorandum of agreement signed over the years with the landowners who had, since World War II, sacrificed their land and resources for the development of the city of Port Moresby.
He said like the people of Motu-Koitabu, they continued to suffer on their own land with the government providing them with false hopes and promises.
“I am in agreement with what the Koiari landowners have demanded in their petition, but the demand for the government to pay K1.5 million is very little, a tiny drop in the Sirinumu dam, let alone the ocean, as this money should be a monthly payment compared to the PNG LNG project,” Ikupu said.
He said while he pitied the Koiari people and their plight, he praised acting Prime Minister Sam Abal for directing the reactivation of the inter-agency task force to address critical issues raised in the petition raised by the Koiari landowners.
The chairman said the LNG had taken precedence while the people, who have contributed so much in the enormous development of the city of Port Moresby and the country, had been given empty promises.
Ikupu called on the landowners not to give in to any sweet talks until and unless their demands were met.
“Likewise, as human beings and citizens of this beautiful country, we must have respect for mankind. It is about time the government introduces the Vagrancy Act which not only restricts the movement of people but make Port Moresby a peaceful city for everyone,” he said.
“The people of Koiari and Motu-Koitabu must be treated the same with other landowners in the country who enjoy gold, copper, oil and other resources because land, water and power are our only resources,” Ikupu said.