“I was greatly dismayed as I listened to the lies and disinformation of my son Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs concerning the crisis he has created in our family including the non-burial of his father, High Chief Dr. O. B. Lulu-Briggs, my beloved husband of blessed memory, on a radio station in Port Harcourt on Saturday, the 18th of January 2020. I also listened with the divine peace that our God Almighty gives, the reactions of people to his fabrications.
ORDINARILY, already reluctantly published facts earlier about the painful truth regarding the troubled relationship between my three older sons and the family as well as their father, I would have a mark of respect to the memory of my dear late husband, the people of Rivers State and the entire nation, to debunk Dumo’s deception in order to provide clarity on most of the issues.
We are all sons and daughters of the Most High God, who Himself is the Truth. I therefore pray that the Holy Spirit will open our eyes and understanding to see and embrace the truth on this matter. I want peace and I stand for peace and equity/justice- ‘Paix Pacis et
Aequitas’ – my husband’s motto- which sums up the philosophy by which he guided our family.
1.First, it is not true that I have custody of my husband’s body. If
it were so, the December 23, 2019 Ghana court order that Dumo referred to would have directed me to release the body. Rather, it directs the Ghana Police and mortuary to release his body to the family by custom, led by Dumo Lulu-Briggs once the following preconditions have been met:
a.That the delegation led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs that will convey
the body of the deceased to Nigeria, should include two representatives of the Plaintiff/Widow, who should be part of the delegation that will convey the body to Nigeria
b.That the family of the deceased, led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs,
will give a binding unconditional undertaking that, under no
circumstances will the family allow or suffer the Plaintiff/Widow to
undergo any cruel, inhumane or barbaric customary practices in
Nigeria, when the body is conveyed.
c.That the family, led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, will further
undertake that the Plaintiff/Widow will be ably represented in the
burial and the funeral preparations, and will be allowed to play her role as a widow mourning her deceased husband.
2.Unfortunately Dumo has not met the above Court imposed
preconditions to allow his father be buried.
3.It is also not true that Dumo and his brothers, Senibo and Sofiri,
do not have or have been denied access to their father’s body. Soon
after my husband passed into Glory at the Kotoka International Airport
Clinic, Accra, Ghana on the 27th of December 2018, I notified Dumo and
all our children. Dumo and his brothers arrived in Ghana the next
evening. The following day, 29th of December, our family went to the
mortuary to pay respects to our fallen patriarch. I introduced my
older sons to the staff of Transitions Mortuary as my children and also those of the deceased and indicated that they could directly
contact them and vice versa as needed. Indeed, on that basis, Dumo and his brothers visited the mortuary again without me and were granted access. Senibo and Dumo commissioned and have since taken to the funeral home, a tailor-made casket that will be used to convey my husband’s body back home to Nigeria for interment. Dumo has also been communicating with Transitions staff directly without the requirement of any form of permission from me. I wonder why he wants the world to believe otherwise.
4.I implore the persons who called into the radio program to ask why
my late husband’s body was not given to his sons immediately he died, to kindly put themselves in my shoes at that moment. My husband
died in a foreign country shortly after our arrival to begin our
annual family vacation. Although we were immediately struck with grief, the first thing I did was to call my children Dumo and Solate to inform them of what had happened. Dumo refused to answer my calls
to him. So, when my husband’s body was being taken to the mortuary, I
asked my son Datiem, who travelled with us on the flight, to keep
calling Dumo until he responded and to pass on the sad news. Dumo was
eventually informed and he came to Ghana the next day. As a family we
all went to pay respects to our departed patriarch. Nobody has faulted the steps we took in depositing my husband’s body in, arguably, one of the best mortuaries in Africa. In fact it was Dumo, who was liaising
with our larger family in Abonnema who informed us at a family meeting
that our very own Oruwari Briggs War Canoe House Council of Chiefs
said my husband’s body should be kept in Ghana until the burial
arrangements had been made. According to him they said only God knew why he allowed him (their father) to pass away in Ghana and his body should be there until burial arrangements are concluded.
5.At that time everything was okay, and we were one family united in
grief planning to bury our patriarch, until we all fixed the burial for the 26th of January 2019. During one of our family meetings Dumo and Senibo asked for an inventory of their father’s assets. I informed them that I did not have such a list.
Moreover, I said we do not need that to bury my husband. Their
response was that because not all the children had money, it might be
necessary to sell some of their father’s properties to raise money for the burial. I even proposed to give my personal funds to the children to enable them to participate as they wanted. Senibo, Dumo and Sofiri did not accept. All Dumo wanted was the inventory of my husband’s assets before proceeding with the burial. Senibo’s insistence eventually led to the cancellation of the first burial date.
6.When my late husband’s lawyer contacted all of us about reading his Will on the basis that my late husband made provisions for his burial in the Will, I accepted and expected all the children to do same because Senibo had clearly stated during one of our meeting that, “I am sure my father who knew I do not have funds, must have made
provisions for his burial.” When Dumo realized that my late husband’s lawyers have filed his Last Will and Testament in the Rivers State Probate Registry, he went to the same Registry and deposited a photocopy of a purported Will allegedly given to him for safekeeping by his father in 2003. Dumo who today claims that he was against the reading of the Will is the same person who had wanted the assets to be handed over to him to administer and raise funds for the burial as though there was no Will.
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