Village mayor praises land protests

A village mayor has praised the Samoa Solidarity International Group (SSIG) for leading protests against the Asian Development Bank over land alienation concerns. 

Nofoalii village mayor, Otemai Liu Ausage, claims his village has been a victim of the Government’s illegal land possession – after it took 180 acres of land – and they are currently talking to a lawyer to consider potential legal proceedings.  

“We had it investigated and discussed with our lawyer and we found out that they’ve put these lands on rent, which could’ve been a village plantation by now,” he said.

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Mr. Ausage and residents from his village stood with the SSIG in their protest two weeks ago. 

“SSIG had been to our village and we have only discussed about the effect of our lands by ADB, which encouraged us to fight for our lands but I’m saying this again,” he said.

The disgruntled villagers took up the matter with the Land Transport Authority (LTA), but are yet to get an official response on what happened to their land. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi recently criticised village mayors and warned them not to accept money from parties trying to win their influence. But Mr. Ausage, in response, said all they did was listen to the SSIG.

“We did not receive any lafo (money) from the S.S.I.G nor anyone else. All we did was to listen to SSIG proposal and we accepted because we wanted to secure and bring back our lost lands,” he said.

Comment is has been sought from the LTA management.

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