Amanayabo of Kalabari Kingdom, King (Prof.) J.T. Princewill Amachree, has waded into the internal crisis rocking the family of the late High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
The traditional ruler has set up a committee to find out why the late businessman has not been buried about six months after his death.
Lulu-Briggs passed away on December 27, 2018, in Accra, Ghana, at the age of 88.
It was gathered that the committee, which has met a few times, is yet to make any pronouncements on the matter – partly because of the inflexibility of some of the family members.
A member of the committee revealed that, at its Tuesday, June 18, 2019, sitting at the King’s Court in Buguma, one of the sons of the deceased spoke passionately and adamantly that Kalabari culture bars women from being involved in their husband’s burial arrangements.
It was gathered that the son insisted that the king’s committee should go by the Kalabari culture and proclaim that a wife should be totally excluded from her husband’s funeral arrangements and should hand over and hands off all the husband’s assets as soon as he dies.
It was learnt that the meeting was adjourned and would continue in the coming days.
This is even as the Nigeria Police continue investigations into a petition allegedly accusing the wife of killing the late Lulu-Briggs. The murder allegation is another twist in an intense internal battle over the control of the businesses left behind by the Ijaw billionaire.
Although efforts to get the police to speak on the investigation were unsuccessful, it was gathered that the petition was part of the weapons being deployed by one of the deceased’s sons against his father’s wife, Seinye Lulu-Briggs.
The deceased was initially scheduled for burial on March 24, but the event was postponed indefinitely, even as the family has remained enmeshed in a battle for control of the deceased’s estate.
The murder allegation, contained in a petition made to Force Criminal Investigation Department, Abuja, led to the police raid on Moni Pulo Limited on June 3. That day, a large contingent of police from Force CID, led by Adaku Uche-Anya, an assistant commissioner of police, stormed the company’s corporate head office in Port Harcourt, allegedly without a proper court order, and broke doors in an attempt to interrogate staff and gain access to documents. They left after about eight hours.
Family members said attempts to secure a copy of the petition, which could shed more light on the issues at stake and possibly lead to better response by the accused persons, have not yet yielded any fruit. The police were back in Port Harcourt on June 17 to continue their investigations on the allegations of murder, conspiracy and fraud.
Sources close to the family said one of deceased’s sons had demanded that his stepmother should allow him take over her businesses, including Moni Pulo Limited, Rachael Hotel, O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation and the high chief’s palatial home in Port Harcourt, a request that was rejected.
In keeping with the wishes of the deceased, Lulu-Briggs’ lawyers had filed his last will and testament at the Probate Registry in Port Harcourt and contacted all parties to be present at its reading. But in April, one of the deceased’s sons secured an ex parte order from the High Court in Omoku, Rivers State, stopping the reading of the will. The reading was thereafter postponed pending the determination of the suit.