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By Bradley Mariori

The legitimate landowners of the newly built Nadzab Tomodachi International Airport terminal in Lae, Morobe province are not ready for the opening tomorrow, claiming that part of the lease payments were not done yet.

According to Orognaron incorporated land group (ILG) of Gabsongkeg village, Chairman Daniel Raffed said, the landowners were promised by the Prime Minister James Marape during the ground-breaking ceremony at Nadzab redevelopment facility in 2020 to make outstanding lease payments for the landowners in due course, however to this date, they have not received any payments.

Few hours before the opening tomorrow and the landowners have blocked off the entrance to the airport this morning.

The Orognaron landowners of the Nawapo Land (potion 397) where the Nadzab airport is situated said a lease agreement between them and the state has not been honoured.

Simeon Toboly, Assistant Chairman of the Orognaron Landowner Group says in 1973 up they have been paid by the National Government K5,000 every year following the lease agreement.

He said in the 1973 lease agreement, it says the agreement shall be reviewed every 10 years but since 1983 and onwards, no review was conducted.

Toboly says in 1993, the Government had ceased the lease payment and they (landowners) do not know why it was ceased.

“We approached the National Airports Corporation (NAC) and the Department of Lands and Physical Planning but to date, we have not been acknowledged as rightful landowners of this land,” Toboly said.

He says NAC will be making more money with the refurbished airport and they never thought of compensating the landowners.

They have blocked off the entrance of the new terminal building this morning and want answers from NAC and the Government.

“We want the government to address our issue.”

“We were assured that we will get a positive feedback from NAC this afternoon.”

“If not, we might stop the opening tomorrow.”

Meanwhile NAC Chief Operating Officer in Lae representing the acting Managing Director Joseph Kintau settled the matter by way of appreciating the landowners and presented a cow, goods and K5,000 cash to the land owners this afternoon at the Nadzab airport.

The landowners acknowledged NAC for their response in showing that they listened to the landowner’s plea.

In the meantime, preparations are going well and set for tomorrow’s official opening.

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