Despite reports that the recent autopsy conducted to ascertain the nature of death of business mogul and head of Oruwari Briggs House of Abonnema, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs showed that he died of natural causes, thereby exonerating his wife and widow, Dr. Mrs. Pastor Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs from every accusation of culpability in his death, there are indications that the battle raging in the O. B. Lulu-Briggs family is yet from over as the older sons of the High Chief, allegedly led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, are still insisting on a second autopsy, sources revealed.
According to sources, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs petitioned Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs, his father’s wife, to the Inspector General of Police, urging him to cause an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of his father, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, to ascertain if his demise was manipulated or induced as he suspected.
K-Times gathered that the result of the investigation was the autopsy, which the police deemed imperative for ascertaining the true cause of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs’ death on December 27, 2018, at the ripe age of 88. Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, writing through his lawyers, Abu Samson and Co., Attorneys & Solicitors of law, to the Inspector General of Police, Nigerian Police Force, Luis Edet House, Abuja, dated 10th of April, 2019, stated his case entitled: “A call to investigate the death of High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs”. The petition reads:
“We are solicitors and legal representatives of Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs (hereafter referred to as “Our Client”,) whose brief and instruction we write you as follows:
“That our client is the second son of High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs (deceased), the only Chief of the O.B. Lulu-Briggs family who by Kalabari Native Laws and custom, is the head of O.B. Lulu-Briggs family following the demise of his father, High Chief (Dr) O.B. Lulu-Briggs OON, DCF. We have also been informed by our client that his older brother, Senibo O.B. Lulu-Briggs and his younger brother, Sofiri Lulu-Briggs, are in full support of this petition.”
“It is our brief that in the morning of the 26th day of December 2018, our client was called on his mobile phone by his stepmother, (MRS. SEINYE LULU-BRIGGS) to remind him of the annual thanksgiving service holding at the instance of our client`s father at their village compound square, Onubio, Briggs compound in Abonnema. High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs had left the thanksgiving service whilst the service was still on”.
“That our client`s father was exhausted at the time. That upon our client`s further query on why his father was looking very tired, he was told by Master Sammy, the domestic staff looking after his father, that it was because he had just finished eating, coupled with the stress of the thanksgiving ceremony. Our client further intimated us that about fifteen minutes later, his father asked him to tell the stepmother that they should round off the ceremonies so he could be taken back to Port Harcourt to rest”.
“That our client told his father that he would be going to Port Harcourt as well after he delivers the message to his stepmother who is still engaged in the ceremonies at the open compound and that he would see his father in Port Harcourt the following day, i.e. the day after. Our client then said goodbye to his dad, his younger brother Master Dateim, the domestic helper Master Sammy, Miss Emilia, the registered nurse from Wellington Hospital, London and other domestic staff. Our client then left the house and delivered the message to the stepmother and departed Abonema for Port Harcourt where he had a couple of meetings, as he was preparing for the gubernatorial election in Rivers State as at that time”.
“Our client informed us that on the 27th day of December, 2018, been the following day, after finishing a political meeting with some associates at Port Harcourt Polo Court Hotel, he arrived at his residence at about 9:30 pm and he saw that he had 6 missed calls from his stepmother. He got worried as it was rather unusual to receive that number of calls from her”.
“That our client immediately returned her calls but she did not answer her phone. So our client quickly got some members of his staff and headed straight to his father`s residential home at Forces Avenue, Old GRA, in Port Harcourt. On his way, he called his younger sister, Miss Rachael Lulu-Briggs, to ask her if she had any idea why the stepmother could have called him several times but she answered in the negative that she was in Lagos. Still, on his way to his father`s house in Port Harcourt, he got a call from his step mother`s mobile phone once again and when he answered, it was his younger brother, Master Dateim Lulu-Briggs that was using the phone. Master Dateim Lulu-Briggs informed our client that he had been the one using their step mother’s cell phone to call him”.
“Our client informed us that he told his younger brother, Master Dateim Lulu-Briggs, that he was close to the father`s residential house, but asked what the matter was to which his younger brother asked him if he was in Ghana. Our client then asked what he meant by asking him if he was in Ghana to which his younger brother replied that they were in Accra, Ghana, that they were going on holidays in Accra. That as they arrived Accra, whilst Master Sammy, the domestic help, was trying to get their father out of the chartered aircraft that took them from Port Harcourt to Accra, he revealed that their father did not have pulse and he tried to call out to their stepmother, Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs and Apostle Zilly Aggrey who traveled with them but they had already alighted from the plane. That after a while, their stepmother got an ambulance that took them to a hospital where he was confirmed dead”.
“Our client, in shock and grief, requested to speak with his stepmother immediately but was told that she couldn`t speak with him given her state of mind. Our client then asked his driver to turn the car and take him back to his residential house. This was at about 10:30pm. Thereafter, our client called his other siblings who were also in shock about the information of their father`s death”.
“That our client couldn`t sleep that night with a lot of thoughts running through his mind. He however called and asked his office to get a chartered flight from Port Harcourt to Accra, Ghana, for him the following morning being the 28th day of December 2018 but to no avail. He was finally able to get a flight to Lagos and a chartered flight from Lagos to Accra in the company of his nephew, Master Tekena Lulu-Briggs, his older brother, Senibo Lulu-Briggs’, son and two personal assistants (Gabriel Omubo and Precious Amachree)”.
“Our client further informed us that on arriving Accra, Ghana, he quickly called his younger sister, Miss Rachael Lulu-Briggs who had arrived before him to ascertain their present location. She intimated him that they were at their father`s Accra residence at Trassaco Estate. That about an hour after his arrival to the house, his elder brother, Mr. Senibo Lulu-Briggs, also arrived”.
“That our client met with every member of the family, including his stepmother; though quite distraught himself, he tried to console everyone, including his stepmother, noting that God alone will fill the vacuum created by the demise of their beloved father and husband. That his stepmother notified them that it was late for them to see the corpse as it was the rule of the morgue where their father was deposited that once it`s past 4 pm, it`s no longer opened for visitors”.
“Our client informed us that he spent some time with the stepmother and the rest family members before retiring to his hotel room. It must be worthy of note that our client`s father had not been to Accra or the house in Accra for about 5years prior to that period”.
“Our client further informed us that the following morning, December 29th 2018, in company of his stepmother, her Israeli bodyguard and the other members of the family, they went to the morgue where they saw the face of their deceased father, the rest of the body being covered, after about 20minutes of preparation by the attendants; that his stepmother later that day intimated him that his late father wished that he be buried within 14days of his demise”.
“That our client, his elder brother and stepmother had a brief meeting in Accra, Ghana where they agreed that the corpse is brought to Port Harcourt because of his (deceased father) position as a traditional ruler though his stepmother preferred that the corpse be left in Accra till it was time for the burial. They also agreed to convince the chiefs and elders of the Oruwari House of which their father was a paramount ruler, to allow for a quick burial. Our client then left Accra on the 31st day of December 2018 to formally intimate the chiefs of the passage of the deceased and also plan with them on how he would be buried quickly since their stepmother mentioned that it was his wish”.
“That on getting to Port Harcourt that same day, 31st December 2018 and to Abonnema the following day, the 1st day of January 2019, our client met with the chiefs who advised that the corpse be left in Accra but totally disagreed as regards the proposed early burial, stating that their “ruler” cannot be buried like a chicken. Our client then informed his stepmother about the chiefs stand on the burial date but she persuaded our client to influence them to get the burial done as quickly as possible, she didn’t mention again that it was the wish of their father”.
“Our client duly informed us that premise on the above failure of all attempts to persuade the Chiefs, himself, his elder brother (SENIBO) and younger brother (SOFIRI) went back to Accra to meet with their stepmother on the ground that they couldn`t reach a compromise with the chiefs as regards the date but she was still adamant that the burial must be done not later than the 26th day of January, 2019, that it was at this point our client had to inform her that their native law and tradition must be obeyed and followed”.
“She, however following another family meeting which took place about early February, 2019 in Port Harcourt where they decided to meet in another two days to agree a date. The proposed meeting did not hold as our client was engaged in Abuja. His older and younger brother Senibo and Sofiri respectively urged that the meeting should be deferred to the following day to await the return of our client from Abuja where he travelled to for a meeting. That their stepmother proceeded to pick a date without recourse to the oldest sons of the family or the Chiefs of the Oruwari House and announced same to the whole world that she will be burying her husband on the 6th of April 2019 contrary to our client`s custom and tradition. That our client and his siblings queried this act but their step mother insisted on it but thank God for the reversed INEC time table for the conclusion of the gubernatorial elections in Rivers State which was used as a valid reason to postpone the funeral rites till after the then proposed April 13th, 2019 date for supplementary elections in Rivers State”.
“Our client accordingly informed us that he became curious at the insistence of their step mother to bury their father early against the wishes of the family and the traditional council to have their father`s corpse buried without the due consultations and preparations. Upon inquiry, given the suspicions of the older sons, it was discovered that the Vista Chartered services aircraft that took my step mother and all of them to Accra waited for upwards of four hours, from around 12:40pm to about 5pm before it took off to Accra, that for all those hours, our client`s father who had severe health issues, was kept inside the aircraft, that the aircraft was said to be waiting for landing permit from Accra, that when they arrived to Accra, that our client`s step mother refused to allow his personal nurse to perform suction on the deceased which is done almost on hourly basis since he had a tracheotomy in place, stating to the nurse that he should be left alone, that he was alright, only to have his domestic staff Master Sammy in trying to bring him out of the aircraft and found that he no longer had a pulse and was subsequently confirmed dead”.
“Following these discoveries, our client and the other two senior sons at the next family meeting on Sunday, March 17th and Tuesday, March 19, 2019, asked their step mother for the death certificate of their father which is in her possession, which she has, to this day, declined to give them or let them see it. This was then reported to the Chiefs of the Oruwari House who through a telephone call and text message made the request for her to come meet with them on the 4th of April, 2019 but she declined, rather telling them that she had left for Europe”.
“That premise on the above, our client, in agreement with his older brother, Senibo and younger brother, Sofiri and the Chiefs of the Oruwari House, made several requests for the death certificate of their father and also the mortuary receipt at the transitions place, Accra, Ghana where their father is deposited and she blatantly refused to give the same”.
“That it is on record that on the 27th day of March, 2019, our client`s stepmother travelled back to Accra, locked up our client`s father`s residence in Port Harcourt and drafted military details in front of same residence which is supposed to be a place of mourning at this time. That choice vehicles and property are being removed from both the house at Abonema and Port Harcourt”.
“That our client`s stepmother had quickly set up a thanksgiving ceremony in Accra Ghana on the 30th day of March 2019 the concurrence and participation of the sons of the deceased and the Chiefs of Oruwari House since the funeral rites of the deceased had not started”.
“Our client subsequently informed us that owing to all these behavior of his step mother, he became uncomfortable and he contacted his lawyers to quickly conduct search on some of his father`s notable companies (MONI PULO LIMITED, RACHAEL HOTELS LIMITED and KRAKRAMA INVESTMENT LIMITED) at the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja and to his greatest shock, his father`s shares had been transferred to the stepmother, that an affidavit had been filed at the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2008 that their father was unwell and could no longer sign his signature and in 2012 transfers made on doubtful signatures, that an affidavit was deposed using his father`s passport photograph, intimating the commission that due to the deceased’s ill health, he can no longer sign his signature thereby using that means to transfer the deceased shares to herself”.
“Added to all these and to the shock of our client, at the Port Harcourt Probate registry, a Will was deposited to the Probate Registry of the High Court of Rivers State, Port Harcourt, on the 25thday of March, 2019 and a request made to the registry by an unnamed person that same must be read on the 12th day of April, 2019 when the deceased has not been buried”.
“Our client as well informed us that neither him nor any of his siblings has had the privilege of seeing the death certificate of their father or possess the knowledge of the cause of death of their father”.
“It is therefore our brief to request that because the entire family has become apprehensive as to know the cause of the death of the esteemed head of the Oruwari War Canoe House of Abonnema, and their beloved father and philanthropist per excellence of Africa, High Chief (Dr.) OLU BENSON LULU-BRIGGS OON DCF, consequently, that you kindly use your good office to investigate this matter, cause an immediate inquiry to investigate the cause of death of our client`s father as your honourable office is known to always respond quickly in all such manner.
“Thank you and accept our warmest regards”.
ABU SAMSON ESQ.
P.P. ABU SAMSON & CO.”
Following the petition of Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs accusing Seinye, his stepmother, of killing his father and other complaints, the Nigerian Police waded into the matter by launching an investigation into High Chief`s death. An investigation team led by Adaku Uche-Anya, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, has since moved to Accra Ghana and together with the Ghana police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), commenced investigation. The Ghanaian police consequently ordered a post mortem on the corpse of the oil mogul whose remains has been deposited at the Transition Home in Accra, Ghana, since December. The autopsy initially slated for July 12, 2019, has been postponed by a week.
Seinye and other members of the family who were summoned to Accra, though not adequately informed by the Uche-Anya (ACP) led-team, for the post mortem, arrived Accra, Ghana on the 10th July, 2019.
According to sources, Seinye, on arrival, suspected conspiracy. As the widow, Seinye, was sent an ordinary text message to make herself available on the 12th of July at 10:00am at a hospital ordered by Ghanaian Police.
K-Times gathered that they refused to let her see the order of the court authorizing the autopsy, until the morning of the 12th of July when they served the mortuary. Her lawyer took one look at it and realized that the order of court authorizing the autopsy was not to the mortuary. but that the autopsy should be done in the police hospital.
Again, it was also not stated what should happen after the autopsy about returning the body to the mortuary i.e. Transition Mortuary Undertakers.
The Transition Mortuary Lawyer advised her client not to release Opuda to anybody until proper documentation and clear instruction. According to sources, the police, Dumo and his agents were very frustrated and their lawyers ran back to court to amend the order. They brought the second court order to the Mortuary and the mortuary lawyer advised her client not to release the body for four (4) reasons – (i) they were not directed to release the body (ii) the name of their client`s (Seinye) representative/pathologist was not included even after the C.I.D boss in Ghana had approved for him to be an observer.
(iii) The name of the Ghanaian Police nominated pathologist was also not named, especially when a Nigerian Police pathologist is also among the team, which called for concern.
iv) Lastly, there was no direction as to whether the body should be returned to the mortuary after the autopsy and who has an obligation to their client, Seinye.
Findings from our sources revealed that at the end of the day, it was too late to amend any order. The police, Dumo and his gang were all asked to go home and return on Monday, the 15th of July, 2019. The family, led by Seinye, on one hand, filed a Suit at the Ghanaian High Court seeking to restrain the funeral home from releasing the ‘Cadaver’ or remains of High Chief`s body for autopsy until they get assurances that the order for autopsy includes the presence of observers, pathologists/medical consultants representing the wife and the four other children and instruction that the body be returned to the funeral home after the autopsy. It also demanded that the funeral home should be responsible for transporting the remains to and fro from the autopsy. Seinye`s request to have a pathologist represent her and her children were granted by Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danguah, Ghana Police (C.I.D) Director General, the sources revealed.
A letter written and signed by Addo-Danguah, Ghana Police (C.I.D) Director General, dated 15th July, 2019, Ref No. CIDAR 383/2019 10 to Dumo`s Ghanaian Lawyers, entitled: the “Managing Partners, Stafford law 14A Noi Fetreke Street Airport Residential Area, Accra”, ordered the following;
“RE-INVESTIGATION INTO THE DEATH OF HIGH CHIEF OLU BENSON LULU-BRIGGS
1. Please, refer to my letter number CID.AR.383/2019/7 dated 15th July, 2019, and the subsequent stakeholders meeting held today, Monday, 15 July 2019 at 1500 hours at the Conference Room at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters. The following were the decisions taken at the said meeting.
a. That the autopsy will be conducted at the 37 Military Hospital at 10am on Friday 19th July, 2019.
b. That a representative from each of the parties will be present at Transitions at 9am to identify the body to the Police.
c. That the body will be conveyed from the Transition Funeral Home at 9am to the 37 Military Hospital for autopsy.
d. That the Transition Funeral Home will provide the hearse to convey the body to and fro from the 37 Military Hospital on Friday, 19 July, 2019. The CID of the Ghana Police Service shall bear the full cost, of the service if any.
e. That the hearse carrying the body will be under Police escort from the Transition Funeral Home to the 37 Military Hospital and from the 37 Military Hospital to the Transition Funeral Home after the autopsy on Friday, 19th July, 2019.
f. That the autopsy shall be conducted by a pathologist at the 37 Military Hospital
g. That each party may nominate a maximum of two (2) persons to be present during the autopsy at the 37 Military Hospital. Names of nominees should be submitted in writing to the Director-General of CID by 3.pm on Wednesday, 17 July 2019. It must be noted that nominees SHALL only observe the conduct of the autopsy and not direct the pathologist or take part in conduct of the autopsy.
h. That three (3) set of samples from examination may be taken during the autopsy. The Police shall take one sample, while each party will also have one each, if so requested.
2. The CID takes opportunity to express its deepest appreciation to you for honoring the invitation to the meeting and also contributing to the fruitful deliberations”.
“The stage was then set for the autopsy and coroner’s inquest to be at the 37 Military Hospital on Friday, the 19th of July, 2019 by a pathologist at the 37 Military Hospital.
According to sources from Accra, Ghana, the initial result of the coroner`s inquest confirmed that the High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs, died of natural consequences, aged 88years.
“But rather than the Dumo party to accept this report in good faith and co-operate with his step-mother, so that arrangements can be put in place to bring back the remains of his father`s body and give it a decent burial, they further turned High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs human remains, into a tool for medical practitioners of anatomy to continue to dismember and show total disrespect for the dead, an act which many see as sacrilegious to the Kalabari custom. Chief Dumo allegedly issued a statement entitled “My father`s widow still has questions to answer over his death,” one of the sources explained, adding:
“Dumo Lulu-Briggs says the widow of his father still has questions to answer over the sudden death of the 88-year-old billionaire philanthropist in December, 2018.”
Controversy has continued to surround the death of Benson Lulu-Briggs, whose body is yet to be buried as a result of the quest to establish how he died.
According to Dumo’s statement, Seinye, the widow, said the founder and chairman of Moni Pulo Limited – an oil exploration and production company – died aboard a chartered flight to Accra, Ghana, on December 27, 2018. Another version said he arrived Accra alive only for the widow to announce his death thereafter.
An autopsy conducted on the body on Friday, July 19, 2019, concluded that Lulu-Briggs did not die a violent death, but, a source claimed that Dumo, his son, has told TheCable that the pathologist who conducted the post mortem was not the one authorized to do so and that the police were not allowed to witness the process.
The source further claimed that in the same statement, Dumo quoted Seinye of claiming in a statement on Saturday July, 20, 2019, that she had been vindicated by the autopsy, whose report is expected to be officially released soon.
Our source quoted Chief Dumo as telling The Cable: “You will soon read our full account and the fallacies contained in every statement made by Seinye Peterba Lulu-Briggs since the death of our father. Even the Ghana police are shocked at how she breached their security and took over the corpse of our father. Her initial statement was that when they arrived Accra, my father asked them what the time was and they told him, after which they all came out of the chartered aircraft, the captain even came down, shook hands with everyone including my father and bade them goodbye”.
“Now, in an action which she instituted in the high court in Ghana asking the court to give her custody of the mortal remains of our late father and not anybody else, she stated that when they arrived Accra on board the chartered aircraft, they realized that our father, High (Chief) Dr. O.B. Lulu-Briggs was still and completely motionless. The Ghana police are shocked at how they got the deceased out of the Accra airport without reporting the matter to the police and there is no record of such incident either with immigration, airport authorities or the police. On that score, the Ghana police ordered an inquest as the case was one that qualifies for an inquest and an autopsy automatically under Ghanaian laws.
“The Police obtained an order from the coroner`s court to conduct an autopsy last Friday, 12th of July, 2019 but Seinye went to court to file a motion for injunction that the body should not be released to anybody and that the Transitions Home, where she deposited our father`s mortal remains, would not, based on the filed motion, release the body even to the police.
Continuing, the source further quoted Dumo as saying: “Following all that bizarre drama by a widow who should want the truth established, the Ghana police met with all the parties on Monday, 15th of July where the police stated in clear terms and agreed by all the parties, ourselves and our lawyers, Seinye and her lawyers that the autopsy would be done and tissue samples would be taken for the police and ourselves and Seinye; that the autopsy shall be conducted at the Military Hospital by Col (Dr.) Attoh”.
“Curiously, one Dr. Lawrence Edusie of the Korle-Bu Hospital, an entirely different hospital and a pathologist who is unknown, even to the police, as far as the inquest/autopsy of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs is concerned, gets involved and actually performs the autopsy, in the course of which he sends out and prevents the Nigerian police pathologist, AIG Akhiwu and the Ghana police pathologist from even observing the autopsy when the autopsy is as a result of an inquest, a serious police investigation involving the Nigeria police, Ghana police and the Interpol. To make matters worse, despite repeated demands for tissue samples by my pathologist, Dr. Francis Faduyile, no samples were given to the parties for toxicology and histology tests.”
Seinye was married to Lulu-Briggs “for decades.”
“He said the Commissioner of Police in charge of Criminal Investigations was furious about how her “painstaking effort was thwarted by some people and an uninvited, unwelcome pathologist”.
“In response to calls by my lawyers, she gave them the comfort that the police would have nothing to do with that autopsy as it ran afoul of all Ghana police instructions and even a consent order of the high court in Ghana for samples to be given to the parties. That is comforting and may God continue to bless and reward every police officer who works to strengthen the hand of justice even as we shall appeal for an investigation into what happened and demand an unquestionable autopsy.
Chief Dumo had insisted that Seinye is yet to explain to the family the true circumstances surrounding the death of their patriarch. He also imputed this in an sms (WhatsApp) he sent to Kalabari Times platform recently.
But still in his statement to The Cable, he was quoted as saying: “I wonder what statement she made to the police on how she kept, on the 27th of December, 2018, her husband whom she claimed to have loved, inside a chartered aircraft together with herself and allies for more than five hours at the Port Harcourt International Airport, with the aircraft doors shut, none going in or coming out? She claims the aircraft didn`t have a landing permit to land in Accra! Really?” he said.
“So what was Vista Charter Services doing, carrying passengers into their aircraft and keeping them locked in for more than five hours if they didn`t have landing permit to take them out? Our father who was 88years old at the time, and with a tracheotomy tube inserted, would be kept in an aircraft with artificial air for upwards of six hours, including the eventual flying time of about an hour to Accra from Port Harcourt, with no suction in all that time, only for her to later state that as they arrived Accra, they realized our father was immobile.
“Well, by the grace of God, all of us shall, led by myself, the chief mourner, give a very befitting burial to our father and husband even as police investigations continue. Seinye is on police bail at the moment and she is always very welcome to perform her roles as wife under Kalabari native law and custom. No one can deny her that. May God keep us!”
Sources close to Dr. (Mrs) Seinye, says she is still grieving from the mortal blow of the loss of a very dear husband and best friend and that despite the distractions, she had remained focused on upholding her husband`s legacy, which is service to God and humanity.
According to the sources, since the death of her beloved husband, High Chief (Dr) Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, on December 27, 2018, in Accra, Ghana, she has been humbled by the outpouring of prayers and expressions of support for the family from all over Nigeria and abroad. This has given her the needed courage to continue to carry out her duties as a mother and the matriarch of the family and to uphold her husband`s legacies especially his service to humanity.
The source added: “Regrettably, the family has been going through some internal wrangling since the death of the patriarch, her beloved husband because of the unwarranted attack by his sons: Senibo, Dumo and Sofiri Lulu-Briggs, on her. This has resulted in the ongoing police investigation and the autopsy that has just been carried out on the body of our late Patriarch in Accra, Ghana on July 19, 2019”.
The source further noted: “We have always affirmed her innocence. She has loved, adored and cared for our Opuda all the decades that they lived together. And she continues to miss him dearly. As we wait for the outcome of the unnecessary and invasive procedure called autopsy in the coming days, we are confident that the Coroner`s Report will put to final rest the shameful and satanic lies and rumours that have been spread regarding the manner of Opuda’s death, including the ridiculous allegation that she killed him”.
On plans for the burial of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs the source said: “Seinye had always maintained that her top priority is to ensure that her late husband gets an honourable and Christian burial in keeping with his life`s works and remarkable achievements. Despite all the distractions, nothing has changed; we believe that Opuda will be buried at the appointed time.
K-Times gathered that a social commentator, Mr. Oraye Saint Franklin, has this to say: “But is it not common knowledge that but for the man`s capacity to care for himself, he should have long gone? I`m sorry if I don`t come across right. I mean no offence to you and your extended family. But it is common knowledge that the man was ill and had been ill for a long time and couldn`t have lasted this long but for the specialized care he got (from his wife). My concern, this view is personal, is that a man in the stature and pedigree of Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs didn`t need be put through this harrowing public spectacle. It would be great if everyone comes around to put an end to this and uphold his worthy legacies. This is the least the family can do to a man who touched lives home and abroad and commanded respect and admiration globally”.
Another prominent Kalabari Chief and traditional ruler very versed in Kalabari traditions and history, who spoke to us but wished to remain anonymous, put it this way when asked of his opinion on the whole saga in the O.B. Lulu Briggs empire: “First of all, it is very unfortunate that this matter has come into the public domain for all manner of characters to wash their dirty linens in public. High Chief O.B. Lulu-Brigs does not deserve this at all. He was a father to all of us. I can hardly find any Kalabari man or woman that High Chief did not touch or affect his or her life positively in one way or the other. He was an exceptionally good man who has gone to join the saints in heaven. On the family squabble over his burial, I can only advise his children, especially the older sons, Senibo, Dumo and Sofiri to sheathe their swords and work with their step mother to give their father a befitting burial.
‘They should remember that the name and image of their father is at stake.
“Your root is your fruit; your root is your yesterday that will guarantee your tomorrow. Check your name because your name is your identity.
(a) “Who gave you the name (b) Why did they give you the name? (c) At what condition did they give you your name? (d) The things you do now may not affect you now but might affect your children tomorrow and finally, pray and work hard to be very successful to be an exception.”
The source advised Chief Dumo to refrain from fighting his step mother, Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs “For Dumo, my candid and honest advice to him is never ever to fight a widow under grace because you will be disgraced. She is a woman of uncommon benevolence and philanthropy. In the book of Romans 6:14, it is said that laws are made for the poor, the rich live by grace. Poverty does not have a voice. There is a level that you`ll be blessed that you break ancient landmarks.”
On what he expects the older sons of High Chief O. B. Lulu Briggs to do under the present condition, the Kalabari Chief said:
“First, they should relate to their stepmother with maximum respect, dignity, love and decency. She did not commit an offence known to any law by marrying thier father.
“There is a window of opportunity provided by the Amanyanabo of Kalabari through the college of Arbitration of Chiefs in Buguma, Dumo should quickly explore this window and accept to peacefully bury his father.
“Going to Ghana to ask for a second Autopsy will not move the family forward as Seinye and her children will not accept the outcome, because they`ll cry foul that it has been doctored by Dumo to achieve a purpose.
“In all of these, I see Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs not buried or laid to rest, this year or in the near future if Dumo and his brothers do not heed this humble advice of mine.
(5) “Dumo`s stepmother (Seinye), her children and interest must be guaranteed by Dumo and his siblings before, during and after the burial, especially the fact that Seinye is standing as trustee or guarantor for the only male child between Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs and Seinye, named Iyowona, who is a minor today. Seinye must either be represented by herself in every dealing or by her appointed representative in writing”. “This is to carry everybody along, remove suspicion, blame-game, bad blood and hatred. Anything contrary to this will be seen by Kalabaris` and right thinking members of the society as wicked and sacrilegious to the remains of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.”
The Chief also advised the King and Chiefs of Abonnema to drop their differences – if any and ensure that Lulu Briggs is given a befitting burial.
“The Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Gbobo Bob Manuel (II), Ekineye Gbobo, Owukori (IX) is a United Nations certified Peace Ambassador. Therefore, in conjunction with the Amanyanabo of Kalabari, His Majesty King Prof. T.J.T Princewill, CFR Amachree the (XI) and their Chiefs, they can trigger peace and let sleeping dogs lie.
“High Chief O.B. has run his race for 88years; all parties should pray for long life and exceed 89years in Jesus name, Amen”.
Sources close to the O. B. Lulu Briggs family accused Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs’ of attempting to twist facts in his account of the process of autopsy performed on his late father, High Chief O./B. Lulu-Briggs recently at the Military Hospital. One of these sources said: “In his false account, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, chairman of platform petroleum, painted a picture of a clandestine operation in which his stepmother developed superhuman capabilities to overrule Nigerian and Ghanaian Police Officers and ensure that the autopsy was carried out at a strange hospital by strange pathologist. Nothing could be further from the truth. The autopsy was conducted under tight police protection at the Military Hospital and the operation was done by Col (Dr.) Attoh, Head of Department of Anatomy of the 37 Military Hospital and Dr. Lawrence Edusie, Specialist Pathologist at Korle-Bu-Teaching Hospital,” the source added.
“For the record, the same revealed that what happened was that all parties gathered Friday morning, July 19, 2019 at the Transition Funeral Home where the Ghana CID Police team invited Seinye, Solate, Dumo and Senibo as members of the family to come and indentify the body before its movement to the 37th Military Hospital for the Autopsy. “As they were getting in, the Nigerian Police Investigation team led by ACP-Adaku Uche Anya joined in the viewing room to identify the body. Thereafter, the police vehicle led the hearse that carried the body and they left for 37 Military Hospital.
“Thereafter, the Ghanaian police team and their Nigerian counterparts escorted the hearse into the Military premises while the rest of the members of the family waited outside until Seinye and Senibo (the eldest son) of Opuda were invited into the conference room where they met the pathologist and policemen. The main pathologist who is with the Military hospital, the highly regarded Col (Dr) Attoh and Dr. Edusie walked in, introduced themselves, then the Military pathologist announced that Seinye and Senibo will go with them to identify the body again before the start of the autopsy, which they did. He then asked for the pathologists that were present in the room to announce which party they were there for. Two pathologists, Professor Agyemer Akosa (Ghanaian) and Dr. Faduyle (Nigerian) identified themselves as representing the sons Professor Adetola Daramola (Nigerian) and Dr. Emeka Nwafor (Nigerian) identified themselves as pathologists that would observe for Seinye and on behalf the four (4) other children.
The Military hospital pathologist subsequently conferred with the Ghana CID team leader and agreed that two police investigating officers, each from Ghana and Nigeria, would be present during the autopsy. All the parties so identified, were taken in. After about 3 hours, they all came out smiling-indicating great satisfaction with the procedure. There were no issues, there were no complaints and they all remained in the premises until the body was prepared again to be returned to the mortuary.”
The source explained further: “Dumo was not even near the pathology conference room during the entire process; he ought to have asked his elder brother Senibo, who was present, to brief him properly on what transpired. Dumo’s antics and tactics of half truths and outright lies on his ultimately futile bid to smear his stepmother and make the widow bend to his will.
“As for the rest of his claims, like he (Dumo) said, the police investigation is ongoing and the truth will triumph over falsehood. Seinye has since put her unflinching and abiding fate in God Almighty who is always her bed and rock of pillar and who will never let her lose any battle in the name of Jesus”.
The source further revealed that in a letter dated July 15 2019, written by Chief Dumo’s lawyers in Ghana, Stafford Law (Legal Practitioners) signed by Maame Tutua Dadson on behalf of the three sons of the High Chief, Dumo lamented the tortuous process of what Opuda (High Chief) was going through and pleaded that in view of the aforementioned, i.e. the humiliating process his father`s ‘Cadaver” (human remains) has gone through, it is important that Seinye’s client desist from further frustrating the process and ensure that we all COOPERATE to give a befitting burial to the deceased and have him finally laid to rest at the family cemetery in Abonema. According to our sources, Dumo was quoted as saying that he trusts that Seinye and her client will give kind consideration to their request and cooperation in arranging a befitting burial for High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs. He was also quoted as saying that they, as well as their clients, remain available to discuss with the other party and their client an amicable resolution of all issues that are causing the delay of the burial without needless litigation, adding that they trust that they (the other party) will advise their client accordingly and revert with positive feedback.
Shortly after the autopsy report, Chief Dumo was said to have petitioned that the autopsy should be repeated, adding that they did not give his representative sample tissue from Chief`s body.
Dumo Demands a Second autopsy!!!
It was gathered that on Monday 22/7/19, all the parties were again summoned for a conference to resolve this issue, including the Nigerian pathologist who had already returned to Lagos but had to be quickly recalled back to Ghana not minding the waste of time and resources in travelling expenses of this elderly professional pathologist.
Commenting on this development, an Abonnema-born pastor wondered why Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs older sons cannot come to be compromise with their step mother. He said:
“The Bible tells me in Exodus 20:5,12, that there is a curse that lives up to fourth (4) generation, that is the curse of disobedience to one’s parents. “For what I know, Mrs. Seinye is the only living step mother and parent the children of High Chief have now. So, I expect all of them to agree with her, not to fight her – to avoid attracting any curse.”
It was further gathered that the result of Autopsy is not officially out because the Military pathologist that performed the autopsy took a tissue sample he needed for further test as was normal. Preliminary report says Chief O.B. Lulu-Brigss died of natural consequences. According to a source, the man allegedly refused to give to the Nigerian Medical Association President that was allegedly paid by Dumo to represent him. “For this reason, Dumo thoroughly rubbished one of the highly respected pathologists on Ghana radio, newspaper and online and as always, lied so much about his step mother. Dumo now demands for a new autopsy. The Military pathologists said it`s not done normally to share tissue samples with observers nor was it ordered so in the Coroner`s form by which the military hospital pathologist was guided. Dumo even tried but failed to discredit the Military pathologist who stood his ground”, the source further explained.
It was gathered that Chief Dumo quoted a prior meeting (long before they were ordered by court to allow Seinye have her own pathologist to observe the procedure) where it was discussed and agreed that they would give him (Dumo) samples to take away to do the histology and toxicology and return with results which they will declare. But reacting to this, the source said “Can a student set exams for himself? The result: your guess is as good as mine. Well, I heard that the Military pathologist refused Dumo`s wish and stood his ground, his reason being that if the tissue sample from the High Chief is given to any observer, they may take it to any laboratory and even before his result is out they may announce what they like especially in a controversial case like this one. The Brigadier General that chaired the meeting asked Dumo and his lawyer what they wanted in order to come to a compromise and Dumo`s lawyer said: “Another Autopsy”. “Why, what do you mean by another autopsy”, the General was quoted as asking them, to which he said that re-starting the whole process of bringing Opuda (High Chief) from the mortuary to the Military Hospital, or towing the body again and opening him up and cutting more tissue samples and giving to them would be the only thing that will satisfy them. Nothing, not even giving them some of the tissues already taken by the main pathologist. Frustrated and dejected seeing that they had lost the battle or argument on all fours, they turned to heap their anger and accusation on the Director General of CID Ghana, that she was responsible for their predicament and that she did not inform the Military in her letter that they should be given samples. The Military repeated that they don’t take orders from police but from the coroner that made a request to them to perform the autopsy. The meeting ended with the announcement that the Military Hospital pathologist would continue his work and give the official report and that if they were not satisfied, they know what to do.”
The source added: “As for the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) from Nigeria who had been hobnobbing with Ghana (CID) boss, meeting and arranging this same autopsy, he complained bitterly at the meeting that he didn`t understand why he was not permitted inside the autopsy room by the Military.
“He said the Nigerian I.G. of Police officially sent him and expected him to report back to him how the process was done.
The CID boss response fo Ghana’s was that as a matter of fact, the only names sent to her from Nigeria were those of the investigating police officers Adaku & Co”.
According to the source, immediately the CID boss of Ghana said this, there was shameful silence in the room. The source further explained: “They left there frustrated, disturbed and weather-beaten, highly disheartened, gasping for water and fresh air”.
Analysts are of the opinion that the decent thing for Chief Dumo and his brothers to do would be to make peace with his step-mother and all his other siblings with a view to giving his beloved father a most befitting burial.
One Kalabari Chief while expressing dissatisfaction over the misunderstanding in High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs family that has delayed his burial, remarked: “For the ‘vultures’ and ‘scavengers’ who are feeding fat and dancing over the cry of a widow, let me remind them of a quotation from Late Professor Odonjo Odonjo, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Morbid Anatomy (Mortuary Sciences), University of Lagos, Akoka: “Those who are dancing naked over the cry and tears of a wailing and grieving widow in pain and have turned her pain and sorrow into talking points and unending psychological torture rather than empathize with her over her grief will surely reap torment, anguish and gnashing of teeth in due course. What goes around comes around”.
“Lord Jesus protects his children by all means. He`s faithful and Omnipotent. Jesus Christ did not only save Seinye, He also delivered her from the evil lies being told against her and being fed the public. Indeed, Seinye is a child of Destiny”.
The Kalabari Chief, who hails from Abonnema, added: “Will Dumo answer his name at birth? “Owukori” “the war is over” and give peace a chance so that the living “Dumo” can bury the dead because when a masquerade is dancing at the market square, it cannot see itself but through the lenses or eyes of bystanders and therefore will not know when the masquerade play is over.”
When contacted on phone by Kalabari Times for his reactions on Wednesday 7th August, 2019 at exactly 2:08pm, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, who later replied the next day, being Thursday,8th August, 2019 at exactly 7:58am told Kalabari Times: ‘Did your Seinye tell you she has instituted two lawsuits in Accra, Ghana that the mortal remains of our father should not be released to us his children led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Chief Mourner but to her? Well, the cases are to be taken in Court in Accra, Ghana, today and I am in Ghana as a result of that. God Almighty be forever glorified”.