The Rivers state government has approved a state burial for late billionaire and philanthropist, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, after a protracted feud among family members led to series of litigations that lasted over two years.
Rivers state governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike approved a state burial for the late monarch and businessman in agreement with the family for March 13, 2021.
REPORT AFRIQUE reported the death of OB Lulu Briggs, who died aged 91 on the 27th of December, 2018.
Lulu Briggs was an oil and gas magnate and founder of Moni-Pulo Limited-an indigenous oil company- La sien Bottling Company Limited and other businesses spread across Africa and Europe. He hailed from Abonnema-Kalabari, the headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area in Rives state.
Representative of the family, Sir Ibim Dokubo, in a disclosure Friday on behalf of Chiefs of the Oluwari Briggs House in his home Abonnema, Asari Toru Local Government Area (LGA) confirmed that late OB Lulu Briggs who died 27 December 2018 at 88 would be laid to rest 13th March 2021.
Dokubo said, “We register deep sadness and regret that more than two years after the death of our leader, he is yet to be buried due largely to family crisis. “For more than 15 months we could not take custody of the mortal remains of High Chief O.B Lulu Briggs because of the series of court cases that denied the family from taking custody of the body”.
“Later, the overwhelming view was that we needed to wait for relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions because High Chief Lulu Briggs had positively touched many lives.
He was a public servant, labour leader, a politician, businessman and philanthropist. “It will therefore be a disservice to his memory to deny his legion of friends and associates the opportunity to honour him at his funeral.
His obsequies should be designed to enable various personalities who interacted with him in his life time to participate actively.” Son of the deceased, Dumo Lulu-Briggs was glad his father would be laid to rest at last, commending Governor of Wike for approving a State burial for the famed.
Death of Lulu Briggs: Family Feud and Litigations
Following his death in 2018 in Accra, Ghana, in the company of his wife, Seinye O.B. Lulu-Briggs, a feud ensued between his wife and his sons over his will and the management of their father’s estate, led by Dumu Lulu Briggs, who is Chairman of Platform Petroleum and one time governorship aspirant in Rivers state.
The two opposing camps were Seinye with her four children and Lulu’s sons -Dumu, Senibo and Sofiri – backed by some chiefs in Abonnema.
The family accused Seinye of murdering their father in Accra – an accusation Seinye refuted- and went ahead to declare the late chief missing in a paid advertisement on one of Nigerian dailies, a publication Seinye described in an interview with Premium Times as ” a malicious and unjustified conspiracy” by the family against her.
Several committees were set up to settle the matter but to no avail, including that set up by the Amanayabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus J.T. Princewill, Amachree XI and another by the Rivers state government.
After failed efforts by several parties to settle the warring family members, the case led to many litigations. The outcome was an array of paid media campaigns sponsored by the two camps against each other.
This media and legal war lingered for two years while the remains of the late statesman remained in morgue unburied, a situation described as bizarre in the Kalabari and Ijaw traditions.