From MALUM NALU in Lae
The Ahi people – traditional landowners of Lae – have been urged to stop selling their land to outsiders.
Ahi son and Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru, made the call when delivering the keynote address at the opening of the second Ahi Festival at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium in Lae on Thursday.
He also paid K10,000 cash to festival organisers as his personal contribution as a Yalu villager.
Naru said the six Ahi villages of Yalu, Kamkumung, Hengali Butibam, Yanga and Wagang would have to draw up a standard customary land policy.
|Yanga villagers performing at Thursday's opening.-Pictures by MALUM NALU|
“A lot of Ahi traditional land has been lost to people from other provinces and government,” he said.
“This has to stop.
“My government has policies to deal with this but it needs support from the six villages.
“We have to come up with a standard customary land policy.
|Hengali villagers performing at Thursday's opening.|
“I want the Ahi land mobilisation committee to sit down with me and discuss this.”
Festival patron and another top son of Ahi, Sir Nagora Bogan, urged the Ahi people to take heed to Naru’s words when opening the event later.
Festival organiser and Riback Stevedores operations manager, George Gware, has the event had been a powerful unifying force for the six villagers since the first one in 2010.
Riback, the major employer of the six villages, is the major sponsor followed by several other companies in Lae.
Ahi Festival motorcade on the streets of Lae on Thursday.
“Thank you for having faith in us,” Gware told sponsors.
“The Ahi Festival is a very important force in unifying the six villagers.”