Dear Editor – The Lolo Committee herein wishes to respond to the article carried in the Star issue 6023 by the so called landowners of Manaoba.
The ownership claim made by AEBUSU/OKARI committee was misleading, unsubstantiated and media mongering by a desperate group of losers who wish to obstruct development by falsely claiming ownership of land legally owned by Lolo tribe.
To set the records right, Lolo tribe is the true owners of Lolo land upon which the airport is situated.
As a matter of fact, the Manaoba Airport land was duly acquired and registered under Lolo tribe with its trustees at its helm.
The Aebusu tribe under Paul Maenu’u had mounted a legal suite into the acquisition last year but was thrown out by the high court.
The tribe has legal records to prove its ownership claim and hence, it was fitting that the Lolo tribe and government signed an MOU for the construction of the airport.
Aebusu/Okari tribes were kept out of this arrangement simply because they own nothing on Manaoba.
With court decisions in Lolo’s favour right from the house of chiefs to the high court, Lolo has nothing to lose.
The battle of landownership had been settled through the courts after twenty seven years with a double dead lock ordered by the high court against Aebusu.
The question is when did the three lads pictured in your paper won a land case against Lolo tribe?
They have no shred of evidence to prove their claim.
To be honest, the financial gain from the airport is simply too good to resist and hence this claim of ownership.
The ownership claim therefore is unfounded, fluidic and lacks legal substance.
In terms of ownership, the Lolo land has been settled by the high court of Solomon Islands and what is left before the same court is a consent order between Paul Maenu’u and Late Gabriel Ramo of Lolo tribe – which has nothing to do with landownership.
This consent order was an out of court understanding to serve a certain purpose and landownership was not one of them.
The consent was not a high court order and for Aebusu to bank on this document as basis for ownership would be a grave mistake as they would soon see when this matter is listed for hearing in the high court.
Lest they do not know let me remind Aebusu/Okari tribes that the high court is no place to deliberate on genealogies and land matters rather, an avenue to look into points of law.
The consent order is certainly not an ownership determinant and for this very reason Aebusu/Okari tribes should accept the realities and abide by the decisions made by the courts regarding landownership.
For Aebusu/Okari tribes to complain about funds payable to Lolo tribe is laughable.
Rather than merely claiming ownership, the Aebusu/Okari tribes must provide legal records to this extent, than to stir up media row over something they do not own.
The Aebusu tribe should be thankful to Lolo tribe for the use of Lolo land for the past generations to date.
The Lolo tribe however is aware that the claim is made out of desperation and fear of being missing out of the financial benefits from the airport development on Manaoba.
Money must be the catalyst for this new claim as legal avenues to determine ownership had been exhausted in favor of Lolo tribe.
Aebusu tribe should consult their lawyer to interpret and explain the court decisions in their possession should they not familiar with legal terminologies so that false claims like this can be avoided.
Being the legitimate landowners, the Lolo tribe wishes to see the airport operational and any threats by self-claimed landowners be dealt with by the relevant authorities.
Millions of dollars have been spent on the airport to date and it is fitting that the government should protect this investment at all cost in the interest of nation building.
Those that oppose such developments without legal substance must be held to account and genuine landowners wishing to develop their land be allowed to do so without interference from self-claimed landowners.
Chief Frank Lauta Daoga