Group target A.D.B. President in protest

The Samoa Solidarity International Group Inc. yesterday held a peaceful protest in Apia to coincide with the visit of the Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao.

Meeting next to the Central Bank of Samoa Building in town, S.S.I.G. president Nonu Uni Fonoti said they wanted to tell the Manila-based multilateral financial institution that “Samoa needs its land and not A.D.B. money”.

“This is the bank where all the money and loans of our Government is coming from, and they are also behind that Land Titles Registration Act 2008 — where we are absolutely deprived of our rights to our customary lands,” he said.

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Upon hearing of the impending visit of Mr. Nakao, Mr. Fonoti said the group decided to seize the opportunity to get their message across through protest. 

“Once we got the okay from the Samoa Police Commissioner and our lawyer that we were allowed, we came bright and early,” he added.

Members of the group arrived as early as 7.00am yesterday before the A.D.B. President, added Mr. Fonoti. 

“The President (Takehiko Nakao) arrived around 9 and he noticed us,” Mr Fonoti said, but paid them little attention.

In terms of what messages they wanted to get across to Mr. Nakao, he said: “Samoa is not for sale. We would like to keep our land as it has been passed down from our ancestors. They have fought for these lands and we are going to keep it that way.”

Today is Mr. Nakao’s last day in Samoa with his last event being a commissioning ceremony for the Tafitoala and Fausaga small hydropower plant, which is co-financed by the Governments of Samoa and New Zealand, and the Asian Development Bank and the European Union. He flies out of the country this afternoon.

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