Fiji: Namosi Roadblock Explained

Maika Bolatiki | Fiji Sun 

Landowners in Namosi Village are split, claims the head of the mataqali Nabukebuke in the village Daniele Vakatawabai.

This had led to a roadblock in the area being explored for mining  by the Namosi Joint Venture.

Mr Vakatawabai told the Fiji Sun at Namosi Village yesterday that the roadblock has now been lifted and the Namosi Joint Venture could use the road.

“Those who carried out the roadblock are causing the split,” he said.

He added the Namosi Joint Venture wanted to caryy out drilling at Wainaba, but other companies had already carried out drilling at that place.

“Na qivaqiva sa vakayacori oti e Wainaba mai na yabaki 70 kei na 80, (Drilling at Wainaba had started in the 1970s and 80s),” he said.

“Last year, there was a change in our committee as all the former committee members were not re-elected.”

The new committee, he said, had laid out a five-year dalo planting plan for the clan and the advice from the Namosi Joint Venture was to involve the Ministry ofAgriculture so that Government was involved.

The officers from the Ministry of Agriculture responded positvely to the mataqali’s request and Mr Vakatawabai said they conducted a survey and tested the soil at Wainiba.

“The soil at Wainaba was found to be good for our dalo project and it is mataqali land,” he said.

“Just when we were about to start with this project at Wainiba, the roadblock started.

“As head of the mataqali Nabukebuke, I’m querying as to why this group within the clan erected the roadblock.”

He said the group said they were erecting the roadblock because the piece of land was for them to feed on (kanakana).

However, Mr Vakatawabai said currrently members of the Nabukebuke clan were planting on land given to them and they wanted to move their plantation to their own piece of land, but the group just erected the roadblock.

He said they wanted to move to that piece of land because the company wanted to carry out drilling further up. Mr Vakatawabai did not want to go into details about this issue, as it was now a Police case.

On their project, he said currently they had 55,000 dalo plants on the ground and in February, they would plant another 55,000.

Village headman and spokesman, Atonio Anasa said Namosi Joint Venture had supplied them with manure, weedicide, three chainsaws, 20 knapsacks, 20 digging forks, 50 manure Teitei blender, 20 barbed wire coils, drums, nails, hammers, etc. The company, he said, bought the clan $31,000 worth of farming equipments.

He claimed no financial assistance has come from Government and they were hoping help would come their way one day.

They have the market and the plan is to send a container of dalo every month overseas.

Mr Anasa said Police were at Namosi yesterday to continue their investigation on the roadblock.

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Filed under Exploration, Fiji, Human rights

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