11 Feb 2004

Another group of Fiji landowners demand return of land outside Suva

11:13 am on 11 February 2004

A report from Fiji says a group of indigenous villagers are demanding the return of land where a European Union-funded rubbish dump is being developed outside Suva.

Radio Fiji says the villagers of Kalokolevu to the west of the capital have engaged a former Native Lands Trust Board lawyer, Niko Nawaikula, to take their case to court.

Mr Nawaikula says the land was sold in 1905 by the then colonial government after it changed the law.

He says most of that land has become freehold but some was taken by the state.

Mr Nawaikula says the land meant for the new Suva rubbish dump is state land known as a native grant.

Mr Nawaikula says the government is now obliged to return the land in question to the landowners, although the law does not require the return of all land sold in 1905.

The villagers had earler agreed to the use of the land for the new rubbish dump which is costing over 12 million US dollars provided by the EU.