The minister for Lands and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan today released a stern warning in a statement warning the general public not to squat in state land.

The public including urban dwellers in major towns and cities have been warned to be aware of the restrictions set by the state or find themselves displaced afterwards.

This also includes those of the city dwellers intending to purchase land from unsuspecting landowners to build their homes on State land.

Minister Benny Allan issued the warning amid numerous concerns raised by the public in recent weeks over demolition of houses at Erima, eight and nine mile respectively in the nation’s capital.

“I appeal to our people not to squat on State land and those city dwellers opting to purchase land to build their homes must not take the risk, but must comply with proper legal processes and procedures with the Lands Department before taking the next step,” the minister said.

Minister Allan also clarified misunderstanding over the expiry of a 99 year land lease or any lease for that matter.

“I want to make it clear to the general public and especially the landowners that when a 99 year land lease expires it remains State land. The title holder is entitled to apply for a renewal at the Lands Department.

“Many landowners are misled to believe that after a certain lease is expired the land automatically becomes customary land. This not the case, it is still State land or alienated land. However, if the landowners want to develop the land they are eligible to apply for lease through the normal process for that matter,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, with regards to section 136, lot 3 of the purported development of the Nomads Cricket Ground between the newly built Laguna Hotel and the Carpenters along Waigani Drive in the nation’s capital, the minister said the immediate stop work notice has been issued to the developer on the 12th of June, 2014.

He said the land is now under investigation of which a full media brief will be issued in due cause.