Seinye, widow of founder of Moni Pulo Limited, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, on Tuesday opened up on the reason her stepson, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, has had disagreements with her along many fronts.
In a statement through her spokesperson, Oraye St. Franklyn, the widow stressed that Dumo plans to rubbish her husband’s legacy and undermine his last will and testaments.
Her comments follow a publication on Facebook on December 30, 2019 by Uche Woke known as Uchman Dela Rosa on Facebook.
Woke, who is a media aide to Dumo, alleged that Seinye was responsible for the death of her husband. But to debunk that claim, the widow has now released some documents to show that those talks were targeted at maligning her person.
The statement reads, “The outrageous publication published on Facebook on December 30, 2019 at 12:20pm by Uche Woke (who goes by the sobriquet: Uchman Dela Rosa on Facebook), a media aide to Dumo Lulu- Briggs alleging that Dr Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs murdered her husband, smuggled his remains to Ghana and deposited same in Ghana in the absence of his children is a false and malicious publication that defames her. She and her husband were on the trip to Ghana on the said date December 27, 2018 with two of his sons and a host of other persons. She believes that it is shameful that a chief would allow his media aide to refer to his father as dead at a time he knew he was well alive.
“The said publication further states that the widow of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs went to court to stop the children of the deceased from accessing the body of their father, her husband, for burial; that she hurriedly organised an autopsy without following all lawful procedures and guidelines meant to guarantee transparency that was ordered by the court; that being concerned about wealth, she read a certain ‘Will’ before burial, relocating companies and packing properties belonging to O. B. Lulu- Briggs to unknown destinations.
“Dr Seinye Lulu-Briggs categorically states that all allegations in the said publication are untrue and part of a wicked plot by Dumo Lulu-Briggs to cast her in bad light and stigmatise her person as a wicked widow with the primary aim of rubbishing her husband’s legacy and undermining his last Will and Testaments.
“Dr Seinye Lulu-Briggs recalls that the trauma suffered by High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs in standing in the dock as an accused person, watching his son and friends prosecute him for fraud and trying to wrestle the company he founded from him over two decades ago was enough to have killed him. Fortunately, the great man survived that, including serial heart attacks, lived for many years after and continues to live on today in the hearts of those who love him.
“Dr Seinye Lulu-Briggs is amazed at the character of a son who transfer documents to his father who at the time was battling a heart attack in order for the ill man to sign over his shares to the son as he (the father) was being rushed overseas for treatment. What other purpose could that have been for other than in anticipation of his father’s death? She is further amazed at the audacity of the son who would later refuse to handover the share transfer documents back to his father when God saved him and he survived the heart attack. For the High Chief to have survived that heart attack could reasonably have been quite upsetting for the conspiring sons as it complicated their plans. Perhaps, it is the same reason the son saw, addressed and consented to his aides address his own father as being dead while he was still alive.
“Beyond taking the necessary legal action to protect herself against the serial, ill conceited acts of libel and defamation by acolytes of her son Dumo Lulu- Briggs, she wishes to reiterate the following: Her husband, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, died in Accra, Ghana, on December 27, 2018 shortly after arriving for his annual vacation.
“All seven children of the deceased were at the mortuary on December 29, 2019. Thereafter the family including Dumo saw their father’s body at least two times. Dumo has not denied that he arranged with the managers of the mortuary to make a casket with which to convey the body of his father for burial. He and his elder brother, Senibo, returned to the mortuary and inspected the casket that was delivered there.
“The allegation that Dr Seinye Lulu-Briggs killed her husband, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, began after she was threatened by Dumo Lulu-Briggs, her stepson, right before his pastor that if she didn’t give him four legacy assets namely: Moni Pulo Limited, Sombriero House (her matrimonial home), Rachael Hotel and the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation, he would go public with an allegation against her that she killed her husband.
“Dr Seinye Lulu-Briggs told Dumo Lulu-Briggs that he knew she didn’t kill her husband and that what he wanted would mean setting aside her husband’s will.
“She reiterate that she told him that she had no powers to do so, that moreover the will provided for the well-being of his children, grandchildren and future generations, of whom Dumo’s first son, is the only grandchild mentioned by name and bequeathed with a property in the will.
“She however, agreed to gift 50 per cent of her shares in Moni Pulo Limited to all seven children of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, which Dumo demanded for himself alone. He accepted the offer and later declined it in writing.
“Dr Seinye Lulu-Briggs also told Dumo that most of his father’s assets were bequeathed to a trust that he had set up by himself during his lifetime. As such, she had no powers to cancel the trust and or redistribute the said properties as Dumo would have wished.
“Failing to satisfy his untoward and unreasonable demands, Dumo Lulu- Briggs wrote a petition to the Nigerian Police Force falsely alleging that she killed her husband.
“Dumo Lulu-Briggs approached both the police and a Magistrate Court in Ghana to organise an autopsy that did not provide representation for Dr Seinye Lulu-Briggs, who is accused of murdering her 88-year-old husband.
“To protect herself and ensure the autopsy process was fair to all parties involved, she went to court to ensure the autopsy process provided and guaranteed representation for her, her accuser Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Nigerian Police and the Ghanaian Police and it was done.
“Dr Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs and Dumo Lulu-Briggs had two representative pathologists each. The President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Adedayo Faduyile, was one of Dumo’s representative pathologists. To this day none of all the six pathologists involved in the autopsy, including Dumo’s representatives, has queried the process which was conducted by the Ghanaian Military at the 37 Military Hospital in Ghana.
“The Ghanaian Police in a letter responding to a needless protest by Dumo Lulu-Briggs given that the process didn’t go as he would have wanted (ie. as a private autopsy) confirmed to him that the autopsy was done according to the set standard.
“The autopsy report is now being blocked by Dumo Lulu-Briggs from being released. He has instituted an appeal against its release.
“Dr Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs has not moved a single property to any unknown location and has no need to do such.
“She has no desire to stop the burial of her husband. Her appeal against the judgment that ordered the Ghanaian Police and the mortuary to release her husband’s corpse for burial was because Dumo went to obtain the body without complying with any of the pre-conditions imposed on him by the court. She maintains that if he complies with the court-ordered pre-conditions, her appeal will be withdrawn.
“Dumo Lulu-Briggs was ordered by the court to give the following binding unconditional undertakings: 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. That the family, led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, will further undertake that the plaintiff/widow will be ably represented in the burial and funeral preparations, and will be allowed to play her role as a widow mourning her deceased husband.
“On June 3, 2019 Moni Pulo was invaded by the police based on a false petition written by Dumo Lulu-Briggs. Workers were assaulted and properties were destroyed in the cause of the invasion.
“Dr Seinye Lulu-Briggs now aged over 60 years, loved, lived with and cared for her husband for over two decades.”
Reacting to the matter, Woke, Lulu-Briggs’ spokesperson, said all the family wants was for things to be done the proper way as stipulated by law.
He said, “Pastor Seinye claims that she has done an autopsy and that she is in possession of the report, but the coroners court in Ghana where she is holding her husband’s remains ordered for an inquest because as they found out from the Ghana Police Service, the police guidelines were not followed and no such autopsy report has ever been sighted by the police authority.
“The children and the family of High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs are not satisfied with that result given the obvious one-sided situation that tacitly excluded key persons and denied transparent monitoring from the opposing end.
“The children and family members reserve the right to seek for a transparent autopsy; and they are emphatic about having everyone including Pastor Seinye Lulu-Briggs tightly involved to ensure that the proper things are done.”
The prominent Abonnema, Rivers State, family has not had a smooth sail in recent times especially since the demise of their wealthy patriarch last year.
Efforts by high-ranking members of the society to wade into the crisis had not yielded desired results.