By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
As the crisis rocking the family of late High Chief Olu Benson Lulu-Briggs over his burial continues to linger, the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, His Majesty, King (Barr.) Disrael Gbobo Bob-Manuel II, Owukori IX, has finally decided to intervene in a bid to resolve the crisis once and for all.
It was gathered from reliable sources yesterday that the Abonnema monarch has constituted a committee to look into the burning crisis and see how it can bring the warring factions to a round table for a way forward towards the burial of the Late High Chief.
The committee, sources further revealed, is made up of some prominent elder statesmen from Kalabari Land whose antecedents and intimidating credentials will make it difficult for the Lulu-Briggs Family to turn down their mediation.
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Some of the big names said to be in the committee are chairman of Asari Toru Local Government Area, Chief Odiari Princewill, chairman of Akuku Toru Local Government Area, Hon. Rowland Sekibo, former vice-chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Nimi Briggs, former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Adolphus Karibi Whyte, Deputy Chief Whip and member representing Akuku Toru in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Major Jack, technocrat-turned clergyman, Bishop Ombo Isokariari, a legal luminary, Chief Barr Tonte Horsfall, among many other illustrious sons of Kalabari.
We further learnt that an appeal to the Abonnema Monarch by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, to help resolve the O.B. Lulu-Briggs family crisis, during the Kalabari people’s recent visit to the Government House in Port Harcourt, informed King Disrael Bob-Manuel’s decision to intervene in the matter.
TPCN learnt that the committee was inaugurated on Monday, 3rd February 2020 at Abonnema, by the monarch, with two representatives each from Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs.
According to a source who witnessed the event, a purported message from Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs that those who were not talking with his father before his death should not be part of the committee could have disrupted the proceedings if not for the mature way the Amanyanabo of Abonnema handled the matter.
The source said the message sent by Dumo through his representatives angered the Abonnema King and the committee members who saw it as an insult and a mark of disrespect.
However, undeterred, the Abonnema monarch went ahead to inaugurate the committee and mandated it, as one of its terms of references, to ensure that the warring factions in the O.B. Lulu-Briggs family sheathe their swords and work with it to bury the Late High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
Another term of reference given to the committee by King Disrael Bob-Manuel was to ensure that all pending cases in court over the burial of the Late High Chief are withdrawn.
The committee, TPCN further learnt, is supposed to meet with the O.B. Lulu-Briggs family on or before Friday this week in Port Harcourt.
Since the death of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs on December 27, 2018, his family has been enmeshed in crisis, with the media being awash with accusations, counter-accusations, name-calling and blame-trading by the two factions in the family.
Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the second son of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs, had alleged that Dr Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs, his stepmother, killed his father –her husband – as a result of which he wrote a petition to the Inspector-General of Police on 19th April 2019, asking for an investigation into the matter.
Although an autopsy was later conducted by the Ghanaian military on Friday, 19th July 2019, at the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana, to ascertain the cause of the death, with the result showing that it was of natural consequences, thereby exonerating Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs of the murder accusation, the crisis has continued to rage as Dumo remains insistent on a second autopsy.