The crisis rocking the O.B. Lulu-Briggs family of Abonnema, Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, over the interment of the late Kalabari billionaire, took a new dimension at the weekend with a threat by chiefs and members of the Oruwari Briggs War Canoe House of Abonnema to drag the deceased's wife, Sienye Lulu-Briggs before the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed.
At a family meeting which took place at the Oruwari Briggs Memorial Hall, Abonnema on Saturday, February 15, 2020, the family speaking through the Head of the O.B. Lulu-Briggs House, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs slammed the deceased's widow, Mrs. Sienye Lulu-Briggs over her refusal to obey instructions given by the IGP to discontinue with further litigations on the matter.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs told the gathering that it has become necessary to intimate them on the goings on, especially the hitches hampering the burial of his father.
He said the obstacles arose from the plethora of litigations instituted by his step mother, Mrs. Sienye Lulu-Briggs to stop him and his brothers from having access to the mortal remains of their father to enable them give the deceased a befitting burial.
Dumo disclosed that prominent Nigerians have in their numbers made efforts to settle the rift, the latest being on February 4, 2020 when the family including his step mother was invited by the Inspector General of Police in Abuja to seek peaceful resolution of the matter.
"The conclusion of the IGP's intervention was that all legal actions should be withdrawn and that Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs is the chief mourner and therefore the mortal remains should be released to him by custom so that we can come home together as a family and give our departed Head of the Oruwari Briggs War Canoe House a befitting burial", he said.
He further disclosed that the IGP also instructed that since the inquest is ongoing all parties should go home and withdraw all cases in Ghana and return to Abonnema and bury the late chief, adding that the inquest would have no bearing on the burial.
"The IGP instructed that the mortal remains of my father should be released to me as Head of the family and we all agreed including Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs, our father's wife who was present with her legal team, friends and families that she brought there", he said adding that he also brought his legal team, brothers as well as other family members.
He added that on February 11, 2020, the Supreme Court in Ghana stuck out an application challenging the High Court of Ghana decision that the body of his father be released to the family for burial.
"Today, we don't have the mortal remains of my father after the express instructions of the Inspector General of Police and also after the express ruling of the Ghana Supreme Court.
"The simple reason is that his widow, Mrs. Lulu-Briggs has filed another action in Ghana preventing the release of the body to us.
“This action of our step mother is a direct affront of the express instructions of the Inspector General of Police to all of us. And so we are going to make a formal complain to the IGP, and we want Nigerians to know that we have desired to give our father a befitting burial but as you can see there is nothing we can do except we have custody of his remains".
Highpoint of the meeting was the introduction of Chief Abubaye Bestman Ajumogobia, a retired Navy Captain, as the Regent and Acting Head of Oruwari Briggs War Canoe House pending the election of a substantive head.
Ajumogobia, according to the family, would supervise the burial activities of the deceased with the assistance of Heads from the seven sub Houses of the Oruwari Briggs families in line with the custom of Kalabari.
The Oruwari Briggs War Canoe House comprises the following families namely: Lulu-Briggs, Young-Briggs, Bestman, Membere, Alabraba, Anideria and Duala.
By his appointment on Saturday, Chief Ajumogobia is now the acting Head of Oruwari Briggs War Canoe House pending the creation of a substantive Head.