Head Bishop of ELCPNG, Reverend, Dr Jack Urame, says the recent eviction exercise currently underway at Nagada settlement in Madang is a strong message issued by the church regarding all other church occupied land in PNG.
He said the eviction is one of the experiences the church has gone through because of the simple issue of misuse & abuse of church properties and land over many years.
He added that the eviction at Nagada is an example of how people cannot respect the rule of law and the court’s decision to corporate with the churches in addressing development issues.
“Churches and the Government don’t have a lot land, so we need to cooperate and work together to develop land for the purpose of communal benefit,” said Urame.
Dr. Urame said, the land system in PNG is too complicated to bring in development easily.
“The whole exercise carried out at Nagada is not something bad, because it will bring about positive benefit”
ELCPNG decided to take the aggressive manner to evict settler’s at Nagada because people weren’t respecting the court’s decision or complying with the church in the first place.
General Secretary, Bernard Kaisom explained that the eviction also make a point to settlers not to return once the exercise is completed.
“The court order remains, so if they return, they will still be evicted, again and again,” Kaisom said.
ELCPNG Treasurer, Noreo Keindip, says they have so many land and properties with similar cases like Nagada in Madang.
He said they are likely to take the same approach in other church occupied land around the country following the outcome of the eviction in Nagada.
The land at Nagada is in a perpetual ownership or freehold by the ELCPNG, and the church has a similar ownership over another piece of land at Lae’s Malahang area.
The church took both matters to the courts which have been running concurrently.
General Secretary, Bernard Kaisom, says the case in Lae is still before the courts.