Customary landowners of Motu-Koitabu and nationwide must register their land under the voluntary land registration exercise being facilitated by the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.
O’Neill made the call in response to questions by Moresby North-West MP Sir Mekere Morauta, adding that the landowners had themselves to blame for the sale of their land.
“The customary land that the member is referring to is outside the NCDC boundaries, which the landowners themselves are selling not to foreigners but to Papua New Guineans,” O’Neill said.
“The customary landowners are losing the rights to their land because of the actions of one or two individual members of those tribes and clans.
“They are the ones who are selling the land, they need to hold their own people to account. Why is one person able to sell land on their behalf?
“The voluntary land registration legislation had been passed in this Parliament and that allows for the customary land to be registered properly and sold if it needs to be sold in the orderly manner.
“I don’t believe that most of the land around the Motu-Koita area being transacted which have titles.
“They are just demarcating the land and setting boundaries and selling the land without proper titles.”
O’Neill said there was a voluntary land registration process that allowed for land registration of customary land.
“We want to capture the interest of the community members and the tribes that rightfully own the land and the ILG process that is in place,” O’Neill said.
“We encourage the customary landowners around the city boundaries to use the processes of land registration so that they can protect their interest.”
On the issue of the land rights for the future, O’Neill said that was something that concerned the government.
“I’ve had discussions with Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko so the department can communicate with the landowners, even those who have bought customary land.
The legislation of land must take place so that the customary landowners do not lose the right of the land,” O’Neill said.