Rokolo Clan receive Customary Land Title

The Rokolo Clan of Irupara Village in the Central Province is the proud recipient of the first ever Customary Land Title issued in Province. The 65.5 hactares of land at Panapana, Irupara Village was registered under the recently amended Voluntary Customary Land Registration system.

In presenting the Customary Land title to the Rokolo clan at Irupara village yesterday, Lands Department’s Acting Director for Customary Land Leases Sharon Kila told those who gathered at the small but significant ceremony that the customary land title was a legal document that will always remain with the clan. “We are connected to our land by blood therefore land ownership is a communal thing. Land in PNG and other pacific island countries is not owned by one person. Land in this country is owned by tribe which is further broken down into a clan.”

“The Government has decided to break down land ownership into a clan system so that everyone has a fair share of any benefits derived from that land.” Ms. Kila also appealed to the members of the clan to corporate and consult each other should they wish to conduct business activities on the registered land and not engage in land dealings without the consent of the clan executives.”

“We continuously hear of complaints of land grabbing even read of it in the newspapers but the truth is there is no actual land grabbing. It is the vary sons and daughters of the clan that are engaging with foreigners or development partners  and doing dealings over the piece of land without the consent of the clan executives and that is where we have disputes and controversies over the land.”

She urged the clan members to always consult their clan executives in any land dealings and better still obtain a Customary Land lease title should they wish to engage development partners to conduct business over their land. “It is the customary land sub lease title that can be mortgaged with the banks for development purposes and not the customary land title.”

She called clan executives that the Customary Land registration office was there to assist them obtain a sublease over their land in the event that they want to conduct business activities over their land but through a registered business entity. According to Rokolo clan Chairman Wala Kila, the aim of registering their land was mainly to tap into the tourism and hospitality industry development within Irupara and surrounding areas.

Irupara is located approximately 110 kilometers outside Port Moresby in the Rigo District of Central province and has a population of approximately 4 thousand villagers and roughly 1000 eligible voters.