By ABBIE COLLACO
POREBADA villagers in the Central province on Wednesday formally presented their petition to Central province Governor Alphonse Moroi and Kairuku Hiri MP Paru Aihi.
The petition included a compensation package for K150,000 cash for each family of the four dead and no less than K50,000 for each of the most seriously injured.
They further demanded from the Boera villagers, developer Exxon Mobile and the State 50 pigs as initial sign of peace effort and cash payment of K700,000 to be divided equally to seven sections of the village. They include Aru-itu, Dogu 1, Dogu 2, Poini, Miritanamo, Kahi and others.
The villagers gave a 14-days ultimatum.
The Porebada people have called for the removal of police personal on the borders of their traditional land because there have been constant harassment of traditional landowners and unnecessary discharging of high powered firearms that scared off villages going about their daily activities. They also called for the sacking of Central Provincial Police Commander for being ineffective in facilitating the peace process.
The villagers also demanded fair treatment, equitable participation and fair distribution of project benefits and the Minister to make a ministerial determination for 25%. They also demanded the developer Exxon Mobile and the State to refrain from contacting Sir Moi Avei for talks on the LNG Project as he is being investigated by authorities over his alleged involvement in the fight.
The Porebada villagers also demanded that the Church be part of the negotiations to safeguard the interests of the voiceless at the grassroots level.
The recognised members of the Porebada task force committee are Lohia Koani, Helai Morea, Seri Asi, Lohia Bodibo, Baru Vagi, Nohokau Lohia, Arua Soge, Gorogo Riu, Tara Gau and Rev. Baru Arua. The committee was set up to hold a roundtable conference with Governor Alphonse Moroi yesterday but the outcome of the meeting is yet to be known.
Meanwhile, Governor Moroi thanked the people of Porebada and their leaders for a very detailed petition.
He said he was humbled and saddened by the tragedy and the manner in which the people had gone through last week and how they had handled the issue.
Governor Moroi thanked the leaders for highlighting some of the prominent issues that formed part of the petition.
He said as leaders they would take up the petition with appropriate authorities but that would happen without the support of leaders who have put it together.
The two leaders Mr Moroi and Mr Aihi have made a commitment that they would give their support throughout until the problem is resolved.
Mr Aihi said they will pursue this until the people are fully compensated and warned the people not to release any statement to any person.
He questioned why the police haven't made any arrests yet. Mr Aihi said he agreed to the petition that the developer Exxon Mobile should stop work until the mess is sorted out.
Mr Aihi called on the National Court to expedite all hearings on land issues on state portion 152 as this was part of the problem.