Like the typical Kalabari chiefs of old, the late oil mogul and philanthropist, High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs populated his household and built a great family. For the billionaire, he had an unflinching love for his immediate family, his Kalabari culture and the entire people of the kingdom. As he aged, among the late Lulu-Briggs’ several heart desires was to be survived by family who would give him a befitting burial at his country home whenever he transits to glory. Thus when the curtain was finally drawn on his full illustrious life —shortly after arriving Accra, Ghana for his annual vacation with his wife, Dr. Seinye Lulu-Briggs on 27 December 2018 at the age of 88— many were eager to partake in honouring the very good man with befitting obsequies. Sadly, two years after, the silent prayers tarried due to a protracted family crisis. But on Friday, January 1, 2021, the major step at carrying out the late Lulu-Briggs’ most cherished wish happened as the Chiefs of Oruwari Briggs family of Abonnema in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area in Rivers State announced the obsequies of their departed patriarch and leader. The billionaire, according to the Briggs family, will be buried on Saturday, March 13, 2021. And with that announcement came a sigh of relief heaved by many that at last there was a détente.
Spotlight gathered while many were expressing deep concerns over the delay in the burial of the billionaire, some family members especially his second son, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs were working quietly to end an unresolved disagreement of sorts, which has stalled the burial plans of his late father at different times. Sources said Dumo has been greatly disturbed by having the corpse of his late dad freezing inside the morgue more than two years after his demise and almost a year after the body was released to the family by the Ghanaian authorities.
He was said to have worked quietly to ensure that every matter stalling the funeral rites of his dad was resolved and his mortal remains committed to mother earth. Not a few would understand why Dumo toed that path. As the Iniikeiroari V of Kalabari Kingdom, late Lulu-Briggs was the paramount head of Oruwari House of Abonnema. Spotlight gathered that as far back as 2011, the late Lulu-Briggs had anointed his son, Dumo, as the next Iniikeiroari of the Lulu-Briggs family and head of the family in his absence.
It was observed that while alive, any gathering where late Lulu-Briggs was, Dumo, traditionally always sat or stood by the right side of his dad, which symbolizes the significance of his anointed as the next holder of that traditional title. Late last year, Dumo officially got the heirloom of the Lulu-Briggs’ chieftaincy when he was announced as the new Iniikeroari —the paramount head of Oruwari House of Abonnema— and thus continues a legacy his late dad fought for and cherished all his life. As the new leader of the family, his first major task was to ensure his father has a peaceful rest.
While alive, the late Lulu-Briggs —as a wealthy, stylish, and cosmopolitan personality— enjoyed life to the fullest. And the billionaire businessman is going to have memorable week-long obsequies with a broad-based Central Burial Committee set up to actualize the mandate of giving him the honour that he truly well deserves. The Rivers State Government has also promised to accord the deceased a state burial, and for the founder of Moni Pulo Limited —an indigenous oil exploration and production company which currently owns oil blocks in Ondo, Abia and Akwa Ibom States with its flagship OML 114 producing 10,000 BPOD— many are upbeat and expecting a carnival of sort when he is finally accorded the respect deserving of a man of his stature by giving him a befitting burial according to the Kalabari culture and tradition.