•Widow, SEINYE O.B. LULU-BRIGGS Reveals Details
As you can imagine our sons were extremely upset with the manner in which whatever plans they had for the postmortem on July 1, 2019 were miraculously averted. They cried foul and tendered a formal complaint to the Ghana Police. The CID boss convened a meeting with all parties on July 22, 2019 at 37 Military Hospital to discuss the autopsy process. After clarifying and laying out the facts, Dumo and his lawyers’ allegations were summarily dismissed. The Military team insisted that there had been no foul play in the autopsy stating that it would continue the process and Dumo and his team could proceed as they wished.
By then Dumo had already filed a case in Accra on July 19, 2019 seeking to restrain me from participating in any aspect of planning and executing your obsequies. It now appeared that the autopsy had been a ruse to gain access to your body and deny me of participation in your burial!
On August 6, 2019, they applied for and received an order on September 6, 2019 to carry out an inquest-including a second autopsy notwithstanding that the first autopsy that they had compelled to take place was still ongoing. Thankfully the case was thrown out.
ESCALATION OF MEDIA ATTACK
At this time Dumo then launched a massive press attack in the Ghana media on me as well as all the good Samaritans who had helped the family after you passed into glory that fateful day at Kotoko International Airport Clinic. It was disgraceful and unwarranted.
INTERVENTION BY H.E GOVERNOR NYESOM WIKE
On August 18, 2019 His Excellency Governor Nyesom Wike, Executive Governor of Rivers State invited me and Dumo to a meeting with the intention of paving the way for your burial. He went straight to the heart of the matter by asking what was causing the delay and the drama. Dumo was not coy at all -he said he wanted 50% of Moni Pulo Limited, MPL. The Governor appealed to a sacrifice so that the matter could be resolved. I restated my position on Dumo’s demands which is that I would not negotiate against your wishes. However, as the matriarch of the family, I said I would gift 50% of my shares in MPL to all of our seven children, not just to Dumo. The governor was pleased with my response and asked us to go away and work out the modalities.
Dumo and I held two very emotional meetings. He appealed to me to hand over custody of your body to him. I agreed, on condition that the body would remain in a Transition Place until time of your burial. He also requested that our lawyers should meet in Port Harcourt to draw up a settlement agreement. I reminded him that I was not negotiating against your wishes, and it would not be necessary. I asked him to call a meeting with his siblings so I could formally notify all of them of my decision to gift 50% of my MPL shares to all of them and agree on burial dates and plans. He objected, stating that he was not aware that I had any shares in MPL to gift them!
Subsequently, we held another meeting with Governor Wike on September 13, 2019, during which I said I did not trust Dumo and I would not hand over your body to him until it was being removed for your burial. Governor Wike asked me if I would hand over the body to his chief of staff to bring it for a State burial, to which I gratefully consented.
At a third meeting on September20, 2019, the Governor asked me to set aside your WILL and share your assets with your three elder sons who you had excluded from your WILL. He asked my lawyers to take me aside and persuade me, of course, I refused-how can I interfere with your last WILL and Testament? The meeting was adjourned with the agreement that both parties would forward their proposals to the Attorney General who would call a meeting to bridge any gaps. The requests in Dumo’s proposal were outrageous. He wanted your wishes as laid out in your last WILL and TESTAMENT, including your inter vivo gifts and my personal businesses set aside and he would redistribute your assets as he deemed appropriate.
By now Dumo’s attack had been extended to family, friends and associates. Some of our other children’s friends received threatening phone calls. My Chief of Staff and Moni Pulo’s Head of Community Relations and Administration were warned via anonymous callers to distance themselves from me or else they would lose their lives. One of my cameramen was threatened, offered money to work against me and had his home burgled and his CPU stolen.
The most disturbing action during this period was a brazen assassination attempt on one of my senior staff. I thank God for His faithfulness and grace that no lives were lost. All these incidences were reported to the Police but we are yet to receive any feedback on their investigations.
ATTEMPT TO HAVE FALSE CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST ME
As 2019 drew to a close, I was intimated that a case had been filed against me at the High Court, Abuja. There were no charges yet but a warrant for my arrest was imminent following moves by Dumo as part of his sustained plot to persecute and discredit me. Following a series of high-level meetings, I submitted fact-based petitions to the concerned authorities and I was able to quash the devious conspiracy.
WAITING FOR THE BURIAL
In several landmark rulings, from the High Court to the Supreme Court of Ghana, it was ordered that the result of the Autopsy performed on your body be released. Contrary to Dumo’s demand, the courts also ordered that I should be involved in your burial plans in line with your wishes; that my representatives and those of our four younger children should be part of the process; and that Dumo give a binding unconditional undertaking that I would not be harmed during the burial.
Accordingly, the report of your autopsy was released. It ruled out any foul play in your death. However, I was deeply saddened by the public release of all the Health challenges you faced but handled with grace, never allowing any to keep you from living an active, full, purposeful and productive life until December27, 2018.
Significantly, the result of the autopsy removed a major impediment to your burial arrangements. Dumo had opposed your early burial by falsely claiming that he was not satisfied with the manner of your death. The autopsy was part of the investigation and the result appears to have put that process into abeyance.
On February 25, 2020, Dumo illegally removed your body from Transitions Funeral Home to an unknown location contrary to the ruling of the High Court of Ghana. He did so without meeting any of the ruling’s other conditions which would have ensured participation of all your family members including me planning for your burial. A spokesperson for Dumo even claimed the body was in Port Harcourt. But in the light of the half-truths and lies that had punctuated the propaganda against me since you passed into glory, it is hard to know what to believe. The general expectation was that this development would lead to an announcement of a burial date and plans to actualize it. This did not happen.
My dearly departed husband, it would interest you to know I still have your International Passport and the permits required to bring your body from Ghana to Nigeria for burial. As I write this letter, I have no idea where your body is or how it was smuggled into Nigeria if in fact it is your body Dumo intends to bury on March 13, 2021. I have made my concern known to the King of Abonnema who in a meeting directed Dumo to tell me and his siblings where your body is so that we can view it ahead of the burial. Dumo has refused to yield the committee’s decision. For more than two years, Dumo and his supporters have publicly and falsely accused me of keeping your body away and of frustrating his efforts to have a quick burial for you-even as a Police petition that Dumo’s lawyers wrote accused me of planning a quick burial for you! Unfortunately, many people bought into these untruths. They did not understand that Dumo, “took custody of your father’s mortal remains you deliberately held back not only to pursue chieftaincy titles for self-aggrandizement but also to challenge his Last WILL and Testament in court and with the bitterness resulting from your failed court action you called the press conference to announce the burial date, just to play to the gallery and not real intention to give your father a befitting burial.” (Chief Ferdinand Ngogo Alabraba, February 23, 2021). He also decided to “exclude your dad’s widow and his daughter from the burial plans thus denying them the right to perform their customary roles to honour him in death”. (Chief Ferdinand Ngogo Alabraba, February 23, 2021).
Finally, I want you to know my dear husband that I have been excluded by Dumo and his cohorts from being part of the planning and execution of your funeral, contrary to the first wish in your Last WILL and Testament which is now a public document.
The storm is heavy no doubt but I am not sinking but standing by the Grace of God.
I remain your loving devoted wife till you depart. Adieu.
Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu-Briggs.
Sombreiro House, Port Harcourt.”
During the burial proper of late High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs on March 13th, 2021 Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu-Briggs was absent but her special Letter written to her late husband circulated all over the burial arena through.
KALABARI TIMES journal.