Time’s up for Sogi residents

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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SOGI SWAMPS: A look at Sogi yesterday in one of the areas that is affected.

SOGI SWAMPS: A look at Sogi yesterday in one of the areas that is affected.

Today is the last day of a 30-day notice given to residents at Sogi to relocate. 

This was confirmed by a Senior Officer at Samoa Land Corporation (S.L.C) yesterday although she declined to say what their next move will be.

 “We will abide by the law as stated inside our letter (Letter of Eviction) for residents at Sogi,” she said.

“That’s all we can say for now until further notice.”

It was not possible to obtain a comment from the General Manager of S.L.C, Afoa Arasi Tiotio.

At Sogi yesterday, an old man who refused to be named said they will not move.

“Whatever decision the government will come up, we are not going anywhere,” he said. “This is where we belong and this is where we will stay.”

The elderly man said they have not heard from S.L.C since the letter of eviction was delivered to them.

“We are aware of the consequences but we will stay here until they come and move us.

 “I have no further comments but to wait…and remain in peace.”

According to the letter of eviction obtained by Samoa Observer, residents are warned failure to obey the instructions would mean the law will be used.

Last month, an elderly mother, Tala Leiataua, issued a heartfelt plea to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.

“We’re ready to face the consequences – but – we want to be buried on this land, Tuilaepa, this land is where our grave is,” she said.

 “Please let us stay on this land. This is where we belong. Our ancestors have worked so hard to level this swamp during the German colonial times for us. We want to stay.” 

Should the government insist to evict, Tala said: “I ask the government to dig a hole and throw us all in there. I’d rather die and be buried on the land my ancestors passed down to us.” 

The family of the elderly mother is among more than thirty families at Sogi, years after they were told to relocate to Falelauniu.  

The decision by the government to relocate residents of Sogi was initially announced in 2011. The government then offered families a quarter acre of land at Falelauniu which they will ‘lease to own’ at just over $30,000 and $3,000 cash to relocate.  

Many families at Sogi have taken up the offer. 

But many others have refused. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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