‘Take back PNG – save your country,’ Namah tells nation


The NBC News report on Belden Namah’s appeal to the nation, presented by Jerry Tave.

By Raymond Ginio in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea’s former opposition leader, who launched a successful legal challenge against the Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre, has called for the ousting of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Speaking on NBC News last night, Belden Namah said: “Papua New Guineans must now take action. Take back your country – save your country.”

He said if the people did not do it now, they would never do it.

The member for Vanimo/Green MP called on both the Papua New Guinean and Australian governments to immediately shut down the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre for asylum seekers.

He gave a 3 month ultimatum before taking other action.

Namah said it had now been more than two weeks since the Supreme Court ruling that the centre was unconstitutional and illegal, and he had seen “no sign” of moves toward closing it.

He said the centre did not serve the interests of the people of Papua New Guinea.

Australian responsibility
Namah said that when the Somare government a signed memorandum of understanding with Australia it was to establish a refugee processing centre only on Manus Island.

“No refugee was supposed to be resettled in Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“Resettlement of refugees was supposed to be the responsibility of the Australian government.”

Namah said he had given both governments 3 months to close the facility.

“Failing that, I will pursue other possibilities.”

Namah also supported the students at the University of PNG in their protest against the government.

He appealed to all Papua New Guineans to support the students while they asked Prime Minister O’Neill to stand down and face the rule of law over corruption allegations.

“The whole country needs to rally behind the students,” he said, adding: “The whole country needs to rally behind the police Task Force on Corruption.”

Raymond Ginio is a reporter with NBC Television News.

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