A FARMER had a rude awakening early yesterday morning after angry landowners ordered he vacate a piece of land that his family had been leasing for the past 40 years.
Setareki Bogidrau, 49, of Lomaivuna, Sector 8 in Naitasiri, said landowners from Nabaitavu Village wanted the immediate removal of his belongings despite the assurance of the Native Land Trust Board that he would be granted an extension of lease.
Mr Bogidrau said his wife's family had applied for the renewal of their lease after it expired in 2008 which was approved by the NLTB.
"We have been offered a 30-year lease but the landowners wanted us to move out because they wanted to use the land," said Mr Bogidrau.
He said that despite the assurance from the NLTB the landowners took the law in their own hands and erected a fence around the 10-acre farm.
"They wanted to graze animal on this land and since then they've released some cows into our compound," said Mr Bogidrau.
He said the presence of animal would spoil a reliable water source they had using since their arrival from Lau to Lomaivuna.
Last night, Mr Bogidrau, his wife and their six children were sheltering at one of their relatives' home directly opposite the disputed land.
Attempts to get comments from the NLTB general manager Alipate Qetaki last night proved futile.