By Oraye St. Franklyn
“How can I be responsible for the delay? How do I bury my father when I don’t have the body? If I decide now to bury my father and Seinye still has an action in court in Ghana, how do I do it?” – Son of late Chief Lulu-Briggs, as reproduced by his spokesman and Publicist Ijuye Dagogo and published on his Facebook post of October 24, 2019 at 1:13pm and across other media platforms.
Contrary to the widely circulated statements of the son, Chairman of Platform Petroleum and the 2nd son of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, that he is unable to proceed with the funeral rites of his late father on account of constraining litigations initiated by his stepmother, Dr Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs, he is personally responsible for instituting a plethora of legal actions.
Despite the fact that Chief Lulu-Briggs, a lawyer who ordinarily should not be engaged in forum shopping, has traversed multiple judicial jurisdictions beginning from Omoku in Rivers State, a judicial jurisdiction bearing no nexus with his claims, to Accra Ghana, Abuja and the Port Harcourt Judicial Division of the High Court of Rivers State in what can best be described as a transnational abuse of court processes and the misuse of the judicial system in a desperate bid to indict his stepmother for the passing of her husband, his father, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs even when he has all material facts that his father died a natural death, there’s still no legal prohibition from anyone anywhere in the world on the burial of his father even though he wants the public to believe otherwise.
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He had in a statement reproduced by his publicist, Ijuye Dagogo bragged about his lawyerly manipulative skills when he said: ”I am a lawyer and if I were concerned about acquiring property, I would have done something regarding Moni Pulo, so that nobody gets revenue from the company, but I haven’t done any such thing.” Perhaps, this lawyerly manipulative skill in abuse of court processes is what he has activated against his stepmother, which sustains his plot to delay his father’s funeral.
As at today, Chief Lulu-Briggs has instituted a lot of suits since April 2019, all of which are against his stepmother without impacting on the funeral of his father, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, while his step mother, Dr. Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs, has responded to his 11 lawsuits with just 2 lawsuits in her defence and for her protection, which also do not impact on the burial of her husband. Yet, he claims her suits are responsible for the delay of his father’s funeral, when indeed not a single lawsuit stops the burial of the celebrated patriarch, nationalist and philanthropist, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs. The following are the frivolous suits he has initiated since the passing of his father after failing to bully his stepmother into setting aside his father’s Last Will and Testament.
SUIT No. 1: OHC/20/2019, Rivers State High Court, Omoku Division via Ex Parte Application.
On the 9th of April 2019 along with 2 of his 4 brothers, he initiated a suit OHC/20/2019 at the Omoku Division of the Rivers State High Court against his stepmother, Dr. Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs and 6 others via an ex parte application. The aim of the suit was to stop the reading of the Last Will and Testament of his father, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, dated 2004, which according to his Father’s lawyers contained burial instructions by his father.
SUIT No. 2: OHC/7MISC/2019, Rivers State High Court, Omoku Division via Ex Parte Motion.
When he failed to achieve his purpose with the first suit, he instituted another suit OHC/7MISC/2019 again at the Omoku Division of the Rivers State High Court against the Chief Registrar of the High Court of Rivers State on the 15th of April 2019. The aim of the suit was to obtain an Order of Court allowing him to deposit another Will purportedly given to him by his father in 2003. This was in spite of his opposition to the reading of the Last Will and Testament of his father, which was deposited by his father’s lawyers, on the grounds that his father had not been buried.
SUIT No. 3: PHC/1309/2019, Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt Division via Ex Parte Application.
He however discontinued the Omoku suit on the 30th of April 2019 and instituted another suit PHC/1309/2019 at the Port Harcourt Division of the Rivers State High Court via another Ex parte application on the 15th of May 2019, yet again, against the Chief Registrar of the High Court of Rivers State and for the same purpose of obtaining an Order of Court allowing him to deposit a will purportedly given to him by his father in 2003, even though it contradicts his position that no will should be read before his father’s burial.
SUIT No. 4: Magistrate Court, FCT, Abuja. Banker’s Order arising from Petition to IGP
Based on a petition by Chief Lulu-Briggs to the Inspector General of Police on the 10th of April 2019 alleging fraud and financial malpractice against Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu-Briggs, the Force Criminal Investigation Department of the Nigeria Police on the 28th of May 2019 approached a Magistrate Court at the Abuja Judicial Division for an order to freeze the accounts of Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu-Briggs. The order was obtained 2 days later on the 30th of May 2019 resulting in the freezing of her accounts on spurious, fathom and baseless accusations lacking the least modicum of credibility.
SUITS No. 5, 6 & 7: Coroner’s Court, Kaneshie District Magistrate Court, Accra, Ghana via Ex Parte Application
Dumo instituted the 5th, 6th and 7th lawsuits on the same day at the Coroner’s Court of the Kaneshie District Magistrate Court in Accra, Ghana. Chief Lulu-Briggs, following a petition on the 10th of July 2019 to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghanaian Police, alleging the murder of his father by his stepmother, sought two Orders of Court, yet again via an ex parte application. The first was to privately conduct an autopsy on his father aimed at corroborating his allegation of murder and the second was for an order directing the Registrar of Births/ Death of the Republic of Ghana to privately release the mortal remains of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs to him purportedly for burial even when his request for an autopsy was yet to be carried out.
Strangely, due to the rush to clandestinely secure the orders, it was riddled with errors and had to be applied for and issued 3 times by the Magistrate within the same day, 12th of July 2019. He personally facilitated the said amendments in order to ensure the autopsy was done on the same day (12th of July 2019) that the order was made and without any notice given to his stepmother.
When by the grace of God Almighty, his stepmother, Dr. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs became aware of the secret moves to relocate the earthly remains of her husband to an unknown location for the purpose of conducting a private autopsy without her knowledge or involvement, given that she had been threatened by the son who had said before his pastor that he would accuse her of the killing of his father for refusing to accept his bid to set-aside the Last Will and Testament of his father, an ailing 88 year old man whom he knew died naturally, Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs on the same day 12th of July 2019 IN RESPONSE TO DUMO’S LAWSUIT, had no option but to approach the High Court of Ghana asking it to set aside the Order of the Magistrate Court made based on an Ex Parte application by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and aimed at perpetrating mischief.
She prayed the Court to ensure all parties were put on notice and for the court to hear the matters on the merits of the case. Her purpose for going to court was for it to determine the proper procedure for the autopsy given that he was bent on fabricating indicting evidence against her. She did not go to court to stop the autopsy as is widely claimed by the son and his acolytes. Rather, she went to court to ensure the process was fair to all parties involved, which was eventually what was done.
SUIT No. 8: GJ/1600/2019, High Court of Ghana, Counter-Claim against Seinye Lulu-Briggs
Dumo, on the 13th of August 2019 made a counterclaim against Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye Lulu-Briggs in her 12th of July suit wherein she prayed the court to put all parties on notice.
In his counterclaim, Dumo is asking the court for a declaration that the mortal remains of High Chief (Dr.) O. B. Lulu-Briggs be handed to him (Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs) as head of the family, which again would afford him the opportunity, not necessarily to bury his father, but to carry on with his planned mischief of fabricating false evidence to indict his mother. So, Dumo’s claim that it was she who went to court and is responsible for the delay of her husband’s interment is untrue. Her suit was clear and did not impact on the burial of her husband. Even if she were to discontinue this lawsuit as he would wish, is he willing to withdraw his counter-claims to ensure his father is buried without further delay, given that his suit would still subsist even when she discontinues hers? These are some of the issues only him alone can address.
SUIT No. 9: Probate Registry of the Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt Division, Notice to Prohibit Grant
On the 26th of July, after the unnecessary autopsy he demanded to be done on his father, he yet again, approached the courts with two matters. The first was to the Probate Registry of the Rivers State High Court to give Notice by way of Prohibition and Caveat to the Probate Registry that no Grant should be concluded with in relation to the Estate of his father High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs as contained in his Will dated 2004 and deposited with the Probate Registry by Order of the Rivers State High Court made on the 25th of March, 2019, which was read on the 26th of July, 2019.
SUIT No. 10: PHC/2520/2019, Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt Division via a Motion on Notice
The second lawsuit of the 26th of July 2019 was in partnership with 2 of his 4 brothers. It was to obtain an Order of Court restraining the Chief Registrar of the Rivers State High Court and the Probate Registrar from issuing a Letter of Probate with respect to the Last Will and Testament of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs dated 2004 and deposited with the Probate Registry by Order of the Rivers State High Court made on the 25th of March, 2019, which was read on the 26th of July, 2019.
SUIT No. 11: Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt Division via an Ex parte Application
Not done, he along with 2 of his 4 brothers, yet again, on the 16th of August 2019 via an ex parte application sought an order for substituted service on his Stepmother in the suit seeking to restrain the Chief Registrar of the Rivers State High Court and the Probate Registrar from issuing a Letter of Probate with respect to the Last Will and Testament of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs dated 2004 and deposited with the Probate Registry by Order of the Rivers State High Court made on the 25th of March, 2019, which was read on the 26th of July, 2019.
SUIT No. 12: PHC/2751/2019, Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt Division via an Ex parte Application
On the 20th of August 2019, yet again via an ex parte application, he approached the Port Harcourt Division of the High Court of Rivers State to obtain an Order of Interim Injunction restraining his stepmother, Dr. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs and 27 others from giving effect to the Letters of Probate granted on the 9th of August, 2019 with respect to the Last Will and Testament of High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs dated 2004 and deposited with the Probate Registry by Order of the Rivers State High Court made on the 25th of March, 2019, which was read on the 26th of July, 2019.
No. 13: Coroner’s Court of the Kaneshie District Magistrate Court, Accra, Ghana via an Ex parte Application
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs on the 5th of September 2019 instituted his 13th suit, yet again, via an ex parte application, against his stepmother and yet again at a familiar ground, the Coroner’s Court of the Kaneshie District Magistrate Court, which has without fail granted him all his applications irrespective of their questionable imports and defective contents.
This time he sought to obtain a Coroner’s Order for a second autopsy. Strangely, this same court ordered for the first autopsy to be conducted. Strangely, too, the same court acknowledging that the first autopsy had been done with its result still being awaited goes ahead to seek the violation of the first autopsy by ordering another one based on Dumo’s demands. Stranger than fiction was that this same court granted the order in clear violation of laid down procedures.
To this end, based on the fact that the intended mischief of responsibity in seeking to indict his stepmother for the passing of his father had become unmistakably vivid to the blind and audible to the deaf, Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs approached Ghana’s High Court of Justice for the second time and IN RESPONSE TO DUMO’S LAWSUIT with an application, via a Motion on Notice, rather than the nocturnal ex parte processes accustomed to Dumo. Her intention was to invoke the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court for Orders of Certiorari and Prohibition to be directed at the District Court Magistrate, Kaneshie District 2 with respect to the Order she granted for a second autopsy.
NO LAWSUIT STOPS THE BURIAL OF HIGH CHIEF O. B. LULU-BRIGGS
Based on the above, it is crystal clear that although Dumo has instituted 13 suits against his stepmother, while she, on her part, has responded to his frivolous court cases with 2 lawsuits for her protection in law and against Dumo’s desperate bid to indict her for her husband’s passing, not a single one of the 15 lawsuits is responsible for why High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs has not been buried.
The public statements by Dumo that his stepmother, Dr. Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs is withholding, stalling or delaying the burial of her husband with her suits are both untrue and misleading, as always. Her intention from the very beginning has always been about according her husband a dignified interment and it is something Dumo, himself, is not desirous of, which is why he keeps giving excuses after each for why his father, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs cannot be interred. He, Dumo, is responsible for postponing the funeral twice after dates had been agreed on and invitations extended to guests.
APPEAL BY MRS LULU-BRIGGS
Dr. Mrs. O. B. Lulu-Briggs, on her part, has remained steadfast in calling for the interment of her husband, the statesman and nationalist, High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs. The truth is that nobody, as the evidence shows, is personally responsible for why his father has not been interred. He should be prevailed upon to respect the legacy of his father and end the wicked public spectacle. His stepmother, Mrs. Seinye O. B. Lulu Briggs is prepared at any time of his choosing, suit or no-suit, to ensure the mortal remains of their patriarch; High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs is respectfully interred.
High Chief (Dr.) O.B. Lulu-Briggs’ in his Will has directed on how he wishes to be buried and that his funeral service is to be simple and done in the Kalabari tradition, as allowed by his Christian beliefs. May God grant him his solemn wishes.