—WHY HIS WIDOW SEINYE O.B LULU-BRIGGS IS FIGHTING TO FINISH OVER DEAD BODY OF HUBBY
By Emeka AMAEFULA
The remains of Nigeria’s crude Oil mogul and Multi-Billionaire High Chief Olu-Benson Lulu-Briggs has survived lengthy legal tussle over who killed him and who amongst his family members should accord him final burial rights the media has been a washed with the hiring of news gurus in the like sense of the two warring parties whereas Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo has been the publicist of Chief Barrister Dumo O.B lulu-Briggs whereas Oraye Franklin a lawyer and Online Media Influencer was hired by the surviving widow Dr. Mrs Seinye O.B Lulu-Briggs.
www.towncrier.ng here bring to you the Ghanaian Court’s Judgment as relayed by Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo. Read On
“SEINYE LULU-BRIGGS GOES TO THE SUPREME COURT IN GHANA
— Scared of a second autopsy
— Delays further the burial of her husband
Seinye Lulu-Briggs has gone to the Ghana Supreme Court with a certiorari application to quash a portion of the order of the Ghana High Court in the judgement it delivered on 23rd December, 2019. She has also applied for a suspension of the entire proceedings.
The part Seinye is asking the Ghana Supreme Court to quash and order a suspension of proceedings, is the portion of the High Court ruling that ordered:
“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 to Nigeria, for the burial and funeral rites”.
Seinye Lulu-Briggs claims that the High Court Judge exceeded his jurisdiction and breached the rules of natural justice.
Mrs. Lulu-Briggs claims that she had informed members of her husband’s family of his death and with their consent, she, Seinye and not Dumo Lulu-Briggs had prepared to repatriate the corpse of her husband to Nigeria.
Seinye Lulu-Briggs, all by herself puts her husband’s body in the mortuary and by herself wants to bring the corpse to Nigeria for burial, claiming that she has the consent of the family as a widow to repatriate the mortal remains of her husband from Ghana to Nigeria. – A strange scenario, never before seen.
This was in spite of all the intervening circumstances that suggest that High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs may have died in Nigeria and his corpse smuggled into Ghana; may have died on his way to Ghana and his body smuggled into a mortuary without reports to the Ghana security agencies. These controversial circumstances are the subject matters of a petition before the Police.
It is instructive to note that it was Seinye Lulu-Briggs who instituted the suits at the Ghana High Court on July 12th and 15th 2019 against Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his two brothers.
The High Court consolidated both suits on 19th August, 2019 and delivered judgement on 23rd of December, 2019 and ordered that the mortal remains of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs be released to his family led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs.
In her suits of July 12th and 15th 2019, Seinye Lulu-Briggs, had asked the High Court for the following reliefs:
- A declaration that she is the rightful person to take custody of the mortal remains of her late husband, High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
- An order directing the Ghana Police and the mortuary to release the corpse of her husband to her after the autopsy.
- An order restraining the Ghana Police and the mortuary from granting Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his two brothers and their agent access to the mortal remains of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
- An order restraining Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his two brothers from procuring the release of the corpse of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
It is important to note that in an attempt to resolve the issues amicably, the High Court judge initially tried to mediate by asking the Defendants (Dumo and his brothers) to submit an elaborate funeral plan, which they did.
Seinye, at the last minute surprised everyone with her proposed terms of settlement as follows:
Proposed Terms of Settlement
Please, find below. In brief, the terms of settlement as proposed by Dr. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs & Co. (The “Plaintiffs”) in respect of the anticipated amicable resolution of the Lulu-Briggs matter before the High Court of Ghana:
- That the Honorable Court make an order for the release of the autopsy report by Dr. Attoh to the Coroner, both parties as well as to be filed in Court as a condition precedent.
- That an irrevocable burial plan, program and date be arrived at by both parties to the suit i.e. Dr. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs and all the seven (7) children of the High Chief.
3.That Dr. Seinye Lulu-Briggs shall release the body of the deceased High Chief to the immediate family of the High Chief for burial as stated below:
a) The siblings of the deceased High Chief (namely, children of Madam Seram Frank-Briggs)
b) Children of the deceased High Chief’s Maternal grandparents, namely, Harrison Lawson of Buguma and Asoba Pepple of Buguma.
c) Children of the deceased High Chief’s Paternal grandparents, namely, Ine Agbani and Olulu Briggs.
d) All the 7 children of the deceased High Chief.
e) That the body of the deceased High Chief be released from Transition Home (Mortuary) in Ghana on the date of the agreed burial date to be airlifted to Nigeria.
f) That the official leader of the family delegation selected to take possession of the body for purposes of being airlifted to Nigeria for the burial should be the brother of the deceased High Chief, namely, Chief (Barr.) Osima Stephen Lawson.
g) That the member of the family delegation who would oversee the taking of possession of the body for purposes of being airlifted to Nigeria for burial should be as follows:
i) Chief (Barr) Osima Stephen Lawson – Head of Delegation.
ii)The siblings of the deceased (namely, children of Madam Seram Frank-Briggs).
iii) Children of the deceased High Chief’s Paternal grandparents, namely, Ine Agbani and Olulu Briggs
iv) Dr. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs (wife of the deceased High Chief)
v) All the 7 children of the deceased High Chief
After studying Seinye’s terms for settlement, the High Court judge became convinced that by her sudden introduction of persons (like Chief Osima Stephen Lawson) that were not parties to the suits, Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs was not ready for mediation.
This ended the 5th effort at settlement that had been initiated by prominent personalities, including the Amayanabo of Kalabari, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Pastor David Ibiyeomie, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and now a High Court Judge.
Seinye Lulu-Briggs frustrated yet another mediation with the demand that she shall “release the body of the deceased High Chief to the immediate family of the High Chief for burial ”on the condition that a distant relative, Chief Barr. Osima Stephen Lawson shall be the head of delegation and not his son, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs.
Note, that Seinye has always denied in the media that she has custody of her husband’s corpse. So which body does she want to release to the said Chief Barr, Osima Stephen Lawson-Jack?
The High Court judge, having failed in his effort to mediate, therefore ruled on the 23rd of December, 2019 as follows:
- 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 to Nigeria, for the burial and funeral rites.
- 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 of the deceased, led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, will give a binding unconditional undertaking that, under no circumstance will the family allow or suffer the Plaintiff/Widow to undergo any cruel, inhumane or barbaric customary practices in Nigeria, when the body is conveyed.
- 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 preparation, and will be allowed to play her role as a widow mourning her deceased husband.
- It is hereby further ordered, that the 37 Military Hospital which conducted an autopsy on the body of the deceased, High Chief (Dr.) Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, is to file the autopsy report at the Registry of the Court within three (3) days upon service of this Order on the Hospital.
- It is hereby further ordered, that the parties are at liberty to procure copies of the autopsy report at the Registry of the Court.
On 24th December, 2019 Seinye Lulu-Briggs filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Accra and also filed an application for the suspension of the order at the High Court that delivered the December 23rd judgement.
Seinye Lulu-Briggs filed the appeal and suspension of the order, even as she went agog in the media in Nigeria that she accepts the judgement and looks forward to the new burial date of January 25th, 2020 which Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs announced after the December 23rd judgement. Hearing of Seinye’s application for the suspension of the order of the High Court was fixed for January 24, 2020. Thereby jeopardizing the new January 25, 2020 burial date.
Seinye, while hoping to benefit from part of the judgement of 23/12/19 which ordered the submission of the report of the autopsy that she claims vindicated her, had gone to the Ghana Appeal Court against the part that ordered the immediate release of the mortal remains of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs to his family led by Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs.
The whole idea was to authenticate the controversial autopsy report while she stops the family from taking custody of the corpse for burial.
When the application for suspension of the order came up for hearing on Friday January 24, 2020, Seinye’s lawyer was absent in court, feigning illness. The matter was then adjourned to Monday 27/01/20.
On January 27, 2020, Seinye’s lawyers moved the application for the suspension of the order 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 to Nigeria, for the burial and funeral rites”.
Deservedly, the High Court judge declined Seinye’s application to suspend the order and stated clearly that:
“In an application for an order for suspension of the orders of the court pending appeal, the Supreme Court has stated in a number of decisions … all to the effect that, for a party to be successful in obtaining an order suspending the court’s decision, an applicant must demonstrate exceptional circumstances why he/she is entitled to the invocation of this extraordinary jurisdiction of the court.
“Counsel in moving the application, and reading the motion and the affidavit, not much effort has gone into demonstrating how wrong the order of the court was. And with no exceptional circumstances canvassed before me, I decline this application”.
Seinye Lulu-Briggs therefore lost her bid to stay the execution of the order of the High Court “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 to Nigeria, for the burial and funeral rites”.
In the same vein, the application by Dumo’s lawyers for the clarification of the 23/12/19 judgement was turned down by the judge who said that “My order, in my view, is self-explanatory, and need no further clarification”.
Unfortunately, because Seinye now has a pending application at the Supreme Court, the family cannot still take custody of the mortal remains of High Chief O.B.Lulu-Briggs.
Suspecting that their application for the suspension of the order would not succeed and in line with their time wasting tactics, Seinye’s lawyer on the same Friday that he was not in court, filed an application at the Ghana Supreme Court to quash the entire 23/12/19 judgement of the High Court.
It would be recalled that Mrs E.K. Barnes-Botchway, a Magistrate and Coroner had on September 6, 2019 ordered an inquest into the death of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs, saying:
- An inquest should be conducted on the death of the deceased, Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs because I ordered an autopsy to be undertaken on the deceased following an application for postmortem by the Ghana Police Service (C.I.D.) Headquarters.
The report is yet to be submitted since July, 2019. With this additional information to the one that forms the basis of the police application, I have reasonable cause to believe that the deceased did not die a natural death and I therefore deem an inquest necessary and accordingly order for one to be done.
- The Ghana Police Service (C.I.D.) is ordered to make available to the court all processes and documents in their custody including the autopsy report.
Strangely, Seinye Lulu-Brigggs brought a certiorari application to a High Court to quash the orders of the Coroner for an inquest and the submission of the July, 2019 autopsy report. Meanwhile, it was the same Mrs E.K. Barnes-Botchway, the Magistrate and Coroner that ordered the autopsy that Seinye Lulu-Briggs claims vindicated her.
This time Seinye’s lawyers claim that the Coroner lacked geographical jurisdiction as the court is not the most proximate to the Accra airport where Seinye claims the death of her husband occurred.
Whilst Seinye’s case against the Coroner was pending at a High Court, she comes to another High Court that delivered the December 23, 2019 judgment to ask and was granted an order that:
“The 37 Military Hospital which conducted an autopsy on the body of the deceased, High Chief (Dr.) Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs, is to file the autopsy report at the Registry of the Court within three (3) days upon service of this Order on the Hospital”.
Interestingly, the autopsy in reference that was conducted at the 37 Military Hospital was ordered by the same Magistrate and Coroner, Seinye says lacks geographical jurisdiction.
So which autopsy report does Seinye want filed at the High Court? Does the Coroner now have jurisdiction and if so why has Seinye not withdrawn her certiorari application before the High Court challenging the Jurisdiction and the Orders of the Coroner.
Why does she not want an inquest that also accommodates the autopsy report she claims vindicates her and how did she know that it vindicates her since the report has not been released?
Seinye’s lawyers are obvious taking advantage of the Ghana legal system but by God’s grace we are almost getting to the end of this tragedy.”
www.towncrier.ng had earlier reported that the remains of High Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs had been scheduled to be interred on 25th of January 2020 in accordance to the announcement made by his son Chief Barrister Dumo O.B Lulu-Briggs but the arrangement was later thwarted by the Appeal on stay of execution sort after by thee widow asking the Court not to allow the funeral Home in Accra Ghana not to release her husband’s dead body to Dumo O.B Lulu-Briggs.
Currently Dr. (Mrs) Seinye O.B Lulu-Briggs had approached Ghanaian Supreme Court praying that her husband’s remains should not be released to Barrister Dumo O.B Lulu-Briggs and with the alleged fear of further pronouncement of autopsy on the late High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs may allegedly reveal otherwise after all why the agitation of releasing her late husband’s dead body to his elderly male children for a befitting burial rite?