By Bisi Olaniyi, Port Harcourt
The body of a billionaire nationalist, High Chief Olu Lulu-Briggs, who died in Accra, Ghana on December 27, 2018, is now in possession of his second son, Chief Dumo.
But his stepmother, Dr. Seinye, who is the widow, has kicked against the development, alleging disobedience to court order.
Dumo, the governorship candidate of Accord Party in Rivers State during the 2019 election, insisted that he took possession of the body of his late 88-year-old father based on Tuesday’s order of a High Court in Ghana, which dismissed the fresh application of the widow.
Seinye, however, stated that the second son took possession of the body in flagrant violation of the December 23, 2019 ruling of a Ghana High Court.
He accused him of unilaterally taking her husband’s body and conveyed it to a location not known to the family.
The second son, through his Spokesman, Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo, said: “Seinye sought to further restrain the mortuary and the Ghanaian police from releasing the body of her late husband to the family.
“Accordingly, the mortuary has released the mortal remains to the family, led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, as ordered by the High Court on December 23, 2019 and upheld by the Supreme Court of Ghana on February 11, 2020.
“Seinye filed a new application on the same February 11, 2020 that the Supreme Court dismissed her Certiorari application and stay of execution.
“With Tuesday’s development and barring any further delay tactics from the widow, the family members can begin the funeral plan of their departed patriarch.”
But Seinye’s spokesman, Oraye St. Franklyn, stated that the December 23, 2019 judgment of the High Court of Ghana, which was upheld by the Supreme Court of Ghana, ruled on preconditions that must be met before the body of the philanthropist would be released for burial.
She reiterated that one of the preconditions was that the widow would have two representatives while the body of her husband was being conveyed for burial, which she said sadly was not done.
The widow said: “Apart from two of his (Dumo’s) siblings: Senibo and Sofiri, other members of the family were neither notified nor involved as ordered by the court while he (Dumo) took away the body of their father.
“The High Chief (Lulu-Briggs) acknowledged that he had seven children. Incidentally, four of them now have no knowledge of the whereabouts of their father’s body.
“A letter written by Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs on the 13th of February, 2020 requesting the definite date for the repatriation of the body of the deceased, the identity of the delegation of the deceased’s family as defined by custom, the destination funeral home in Nigeria where the body will be kept pending burial and the transportation arrangements for the repatriation of the body was never responded to.
“Mrs. Lulu-Briggs wonders why men who humiliated, tried to take over his (deceased) company and imprisoned her husband would now be so interested in his body, especially after Dumo had demanded that he be given tissue samples from his father’s body, the refusal by the military pathologists caused him to insist on a second autopsy on his father.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the other children of the High Chief do not know where the body of their father is, Dr. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs hopes that her stepson, who has illegally removed the body of her husband, would fix the burial date for his father and allow him the rest, that he rightfully deserves.”
Dumo had alleged Seinye was afraid further investigation through transparent autopsy and inquest ordered by Ghana police might reveal how and where the oil magnate died.
But the widow maintained the released autopsy report had vindicated of killing the billionaire as alleged by Dumo.
But the Accord party chieftain insisted that the autopsy report was contrived.
Dumo maintained that the medical director of the airport clinic in Accra, Ghana, who attended to his father on December 27, 2018, disclosed that he was brought to the clinic “dead on arrival,” which the widow denied.
The burial of Lulu-Briggs had been fixed thrice, the last being January 25, 2020 but all the dates were cancelled at the eleventh hour in view of litigation in courts in Ghana.
The intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike and other prominent Nigerians has not yielded any fruit.
Wike met thrice in Government House, Port Harcourt with Seinye, Dumo and some family members to resolve the conflict, while promising that Rivers government would have state burial for the philanthropist.