Widow and son of Founder of Moni Pulo Limited, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, has again traded blames over the delay in the release of an autopsy report carried out on his body and also the inability of the family to so far bury him.
In a statement through her spokesperson on Friday, Oraye St. Franklyn, Seinye, widow of the late philanthropist, who died on December 27, 2018, accused her stepson, Dumo, a former governorship candidate in Rivers State, of blocking the release of the autopsy result to ensure that the truth surrounding the oil magnate’s death is not made public.
The woman said that Dumo plans to falsely hold her for the death of her husband by conducting a manipulated and sinister autopsy on his body.
According to Seinye, Dumo chose the day of his father’s first death anniversary to block the release of the autopsy result he had always called for.
The statement reads, “On December 27, 2019, exactly a year after his father died, rather than hold a memorial in his honour as would have been ordinarily expected, Dumo Lulu-Briggs chose that day to file an appeal in Ghana to block the release of the report of an autopsy that he had called for in July 2019.
“In a petition written in April 2019 to the Nigeria Police Force and later to the Ghanaian Police, Dumo had maintained that an autopsy was necessary to establish the cause of death of his father, High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs.
“It was therefore surprising that rather than be glad that the autopsy he called for had been done in order to effectively put to rest the issue of the cause of death of his father, he chose that very day of his father’s first memorial to block the release of the autopsy result.
“His plan to falsely hold Seinye for murder was built around his bid to have a manipulated and sinister autopsy done in Accra, Ghana, where his father died.
“Consequently, to protect herself from being a victim of Dumo’s sinister plot aimed at her and also guarantee the integrity of the planned autopsy; she went to court and got it to determine the proper procedure for the autopsy among other demands.
“The court did not only clearly ensure that the autopsy would be done by the Ghanaian Military, a neutral body, but also provided for two representative pathologists each for Dumo and herself to ensure their equitable and fair representation and involvement.
“The court also ensured the autopsy was done under the close supervision of the Nigerian and Ghanaian Police, as well as the Interpol.
“On July 16, 2019, four days after Dumo’s attempt at conducting a manipulated autopsy, the proper one was done according to standard.
“The Ghanaian Police confirmed in writing to Dumo thereafter that the autopsy was done according to international standard at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, one of the few facilities in Africa with an ISO certification.
“One of Dumo’s representatives at the autopsy is the current President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Adedayo Faduyile, who was physically present while the autopsy was done.
“To this day, he has not countered the position of either the Ghanaian Police, which monitored the autopsy or the Ghanaian Military that conducted it, both of which maintain that the autopsy was properly done. This is not to mention the corroboration by all other pathologists who witnessed the autopsy that it was properly done.
“But in a rather strange twist, Dumo who called for the autopsy has blocked the release of the report to ensure that the truth that his father died of natural causes is not made public.
“Dumo’s appeal is set to be heard in February 2020. It is obvious he has no intention of burying his father on January 25, 2020.”
In his reaction on Saturday, Dumo, through his spokesperson, Uche Woke, denied blocking the release of the autopsy result, stating that the entire family was tired of the delay in burying the remains of the late business mogul.
He said, “Dumo Lulu-Briggs clearly stated that the supposed pre-conditions as ordered by the court has been met since December 24, 2019 and it was by far the easiest thing to meet as long as it allows them access to the mortal remains of their late father to enable the family sit and plan for his burial as required by customs.
“Chief Dumo also explained that the second pre-condition stated in the ruling is not beholden to him as he cannot in any way be the person who will appoint for Seinye her representatives that will accompany him and the family to convey the remains from Accra to Nigeria on the set date.
“Chief Dumo believes that he can only be held responsible if he or any member of the Oruwari Briggs family rejects the representatives appointed by his stepmother which he is sure will not happen as the family is tired of having to go back and forth on the matter and the increasing delay of the burial of their father is becoming wearisome to the family.
“Chief Dumo not only denies such reports but also went ahead to show proof that he had no objection whatsoever to the submission of any said report.
“Nobody has a right to deny Seinye her full representation in the burial planning process should she choose to be a part of it.
“All his family is interested in is that she releases the body of their father to the family so they can go ahead and plan for his burial and if there are other issues she has with him, that can be resolved later but in the interim, he is more interested and concerned with giving his father a befitting burial.”
According to findings by SaharaReporters, the family feud resulting to the delay in the burial of the late oil magnate has left many prominent sons and daughters of Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State where Abonnema, the hometown of the Briggs falls under, deeply troubled.
Those, who have expressed concern view the situation as an unfair treatment and disrespect for the late O.B Lulu-Briggs, who touched lives through various acts of philanthropy during his lifetime.