STATEMENT OF CHIEF DUMO O.B. LULU-BRIGGS ON SUPREME COURT OF GHANA RULING MADE ON 11TH FEBRUARY 2020
The Ghana Supreme Court, has on this day, 11th February 2020, made a decision in the cases initiated by our stepmother, Seinye Lulu-Briggs against myself, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, and my brothers, Senibo Lulu-Briggs and Sofiri Lulu-Briggs, following the death of our father, the Late High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
The Supreme Court presided over by Justice Dotse, gave its ruling on the 2 applications filed by Seinye Lulu-Briggs to prevent the family of the Late High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs from taking his mortal remains for burial, and that filed by myself and my brothers preventing the release of the disputed autopsy report to the High Court but rather to the Coroner’s court, respectively. The Court dismissed both applications, and upheld the orders of the High Court made on 23rd December 2019. The Supreme Court further commented that it had wished that these matters were settled amicably between the family and the widow without recourse to the plenty applications filed before the courts by Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs. The Justices held further that the undertaking that I was asked to file guaranteeing that the widow will not be subjected to any barbaric practices in Nigeria, was of no effect, as same is unnecessary because no such customs exist. They added that in any case, our late father, High Chief(Dr) O. B. Lulu-Briggs was at all times a Nigerian, never Ghanaian, and such an undertaking filed in the Ghana court, is not enforceable in Nigeria. However, I have since 24th December, 2019 filed the undertaking at the Ghana High Court.
What the Supreme Court did was to confirm the orders of the High Court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei-Baffour, to the effect that the mortal remains of the deceased, High Chief (Dr.) Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs be released by the 4th Defendant, Enterprise Funeral Services Ghana Limited and the Ghana Police Service, to the family by custom, led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, to convey same to Nigeria, for the burial and funeral rites. Since the Certiorari application filed at the Supreme Court by the widow of our father, Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs to quash those orders of the Ghana High Court that the Ghana Police and the Enterprise Funeral Home should release the mortal remains of our father to his family by custom, led by Chief Dumo O.B. Lulu-Briggs, Head and Chief mourner, but rather return the matter to the Ghana High Court has been dismissed by the Supreme Court, the final impediments to taking custody of the corpus of our dearly departed father has been removed and his body can finally come home.
With that impediment removed, our family will meet and together with the chiefs of the Oruwari Briggs House, announce a burial date the day after our father’s body arrives in Port Harcourt and promptly organise a befitting burial for our dearly departed Opuda, the Paramount Head of the Oruwari Briggs War Canoe House of Abonema,.
We hope that this Ruling of the Supreme Court and the various interventions of well-meaning public officials, will bring finality to the controversial issue of who has the right, under Kalabari native law and custom, to take the mortal remains of our father for burial. We also hope that our stepmother will keep her word, given at a recent meeting between the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force, the widow and the children of the Late High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs, at which she, Seinye Lulu-Briggs agreed to withdraw all pending matters before the courts in Ghana and to let the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of our father continue before the Kaneshie Magistrates Court in Ghana hold, so that we can all have the needed closure and begin to heal.
On behalf of the whole family of the Late High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs, we hereby express our profound gratitude to the people of Nigeria and Ghana, as well as the Ghanaian and Nigerian governments, for their support and prayers. We also thank the Supreme Court and the High Court of Ghana for their forbearance and wise counsel in this difficult matter which was brought before them.
By the grace of the Almighty God, obstacles cannot be boulders in our path, but only stepping stones to a higher purpose. Our dearly departed father will be given a very befitting passage to his final place of rest with his Maker.
God keep us.
CHIEF DUMO O.B. LULU-BRIGGS
HEAD OF O. B. LULU-BRIGGS FAMILY AND CHIEF MOURNER