Fi­nal plea: Soil, not oil

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Pa­pua New Guinea’s late Hela Gov­er­nor An­der­son Agiru had stressed the im­por­tance of “soil and not oil” be­fore he died, urg­ing the peo­ple to turn back to the land, says his brother Vin­cent Agiru. He men­tioned this at the State fu­neral for his brother in Port Moresby yes­ter­day which was at­tended by hun­dreds of peo­ple in­clud­ing Prime Min­is­ter Peter O’Neill, Cab­i­net min­is­ters and pub­lic ser­vants at the Sir John Guise Sta­dium.

“He said soil, not oil, will be our fu­ture,” he said. “Soil, not oil, is his legacy. While ly­ing on his sick bed in Bei­jing (China, last year), he recorded a mes­sage to the peo­ple of Hela. “He asked He­las not to be beg­gars or drunk­ards, drug ad­dicts or gab­blers. He begged them to stop tribal fights and guns.

“He called for ev­ery fam­ily to grow 1000 cof­fee trees and raise 10 pigs ev­ery year. “He reck­oned in 10 years, a fam­ily could earn K100,000 (F$67,011) from this en­ter­prise. “He asked that his peo­ple turn away from the glit­ter of oil and gas, and till the land.” Vin­cent said he was over­whelmed by the num­ber of peo­ple who of­fered their sup­port dur­ing Agiru’s death. “I had al­ways known that An­der­son had many friends. But to see so many of you here, at the haus krai over the past few weeks, and many con­do­lence mes­sages that con­tinue to pour in, just floors me,” he said. “He grew far big­ger than the elder brother I knew. I want to say that al­though he knew so many peo­ple, he re­mained a very pri­vate per­son.” The Na­tional

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