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Goroka University Land 'Not Bought By State'

PORT MORESBY: The Okiyufa tribal group living on the outskirts of Goroka, which has been involved in a K2.7 million compensation dispute for the University of Goroka land, maintains that the land was never bought by the State, the National reports.

Okiyufa tribal leaders said that they were paid 395 Australian pounds, steel axes and salt during the colonial administration as repatriation payment for the early Okiyufa settlers on the land.

Tribal leaders Koni Sari and Nelson Auwo said they were prepared to return the 395 pounds with the salt and steel axes that were paid to their grandparents.

Okiyufa ward councillor Ribin Enka said that the landowners' claim was submitted 14 years ago and there had been numerous meetings with authorities pushing their demand through the proper channels of communications.

Councillor Enka also added that while they were pushing their demand through, the State honoured several land compensation demands for other landowners around the country like the case of Vanimo town land as reported last week.

"Our claim is to be treated along with that of the other landowners whom the State has compensated," Mr Enka said.

The leaders refuted claims by Education Minister Professor John Waiko that the University of Goroka land was owned by the State.

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