Donigi asks some questions of NRI about Customary Land Ownership

Mr. Peter Donigi went on air on the FM100 Talk Back show this morning from 9am to 11.30am to discuss customary land registration. He used anĀ attached script in his talk on the programme. Much of the discussions was in Tok Pisin language, but nevertheless the National Research Institute has taken the bait. They are not very happy and demanded their right of reply and so that will be on air tomorrow.

Dr Webster and Dr Yala will most likely be there to put their side of the story to get customary landowners to register their customary land. However Mr. Donigi believes it is essential that some relevant questions are posed for them to answer. He has prepared some questions and if you have friends that are passionate about customary land, can you also circulate the questions to them and ask them to call in and pose the questions to these professors.


Questions for NRI

  1. Is it true that the definition of land means that we as landowners own only 6 feet of top soil and have no rights under customary law to the sub-soil and hard rock and any resources under the hard rock?
  2. We are questioning the validity of oil and gas and mining laws that take away our rights by customary law to the minerals and oil and gas. Now this law means that when we register our land, we lose our rights to claim that ownership of the oil and gas and minerals in and under the sub-soil, hard rock under our land. Do you agree to this fact?
  3. . In other words. is it true that when we lose our customary law on registration of our land, we also lose our right to claim ownership of the oil and gas and minerals under our land?
  4. If not, then how do you explain your way out of definition of “land”, the definition of “absolute title” when read together with Sections 34M and 34N of the Land Registration (Customary Land)(Amendment) Act 2009, as explained to us by Ambassador Donigi yesterday?
  5. Can we change the law to define “land” as including everything below the surface of the land right through to the centre of the earth to comply with customary law?
  6. Can you guarantee to me that the Government will not acquire my land through the compulsory acquisition process after I register my land to give to any other person for their profit?
  7. How do you define “public purpose”? Under what circumstances can the government acquire my land for “public purpose”? Is there a law that defines the limit of the government’s power to acquire my land under the pretext of public purpose for the benefit of outsiders?
  8. Why can’t we change our laws from a licensed based system to production sharing contracts with customary landowners as direct beneficiaries in any project on their land?1. Why should we replace our underlying customary law with English law?
  9. Why do we not codify customary law?
  10. Why do we not corporatise customary law as is written in Donigi’s book ‘Lifting the veil that shrouds PNG”?
  11. Is customary law on land ownership “repugnant to the general principles of humanity”? if so which principles of humanity? Can you point any out to us?
  12. In 2007 the United Nations adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This Declaration recognised customary law and places an obligation on governments to preserve customary law and practices, why then are you terminating customary law?
  13. Your nationwide campaign has cost a lot of money – can you be honest with us and tell us who is funding your program? If, it is the Department of Lands, then is it from the monies allocated under the national budget or is it from an aid program? If it is from an Aid Program, which foreign government or entity is funding your exercise? For instance who covered the costs of your foreign consultants?