Key members of the family of the late Nigerian High Chief, O.B. Lulu-Briggs, comprising his three oldest sons, have finally broken their silence since their father’s untimely death upon arrival at the Kotoka International Airport, Accra under what they say were bizarre circumstances.
In an interview with Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, Chief of the Lulu-Briggs family of Abonema, Port Harcourt in the Rivers State of Nigeria and Chief mourner representing his two brothers, on what they know of their father’s death beside what their stepmother and widow, Mrs Seinye Lulu-Briggs had said, he told Graphic Online that the family saw their father the day before his trip to Accra and that he looked quite well.
He said they were not aware their stepmother had planned to bring their father who suffered some health conditions to Accra on a vacation. They also discovered that their father, in spite of being sick, was grounded in an aircraft together with some other persons for about five hours at the Port Harcourt Airport while waiting for a landing permit to travel to Accra.
“We had since found out that there was indeed a landing permit issued with estimated time of arrival put at 1:pm, Ghana time,” he said.
He said the family’s concern had been that their stepmother traveled with their late father to Accra without a medical clearance to travel. Also, after their stepmother realised that her husband had passed on, upon arrival in Accra she failed to report the matter to the Ghana Immigration Service or the Ghana Airports Authority Limited.
He said she also failed to report to the Airport Police Station for a coroner’s inquest to be conducted as required by the laws of Ghana, considering that their father and her husband died outside of a medical facility.
Chief Dumo further claimed that their stepmother procured a medical cause of death certificate, deposited the body at the Transitions Funeral Home at Haatso and procured a permit to export the body of the deceased without the consent of the rest of the family of the deceased.
Chief Dumo said the rest of the family were also concerned that the widow, contrary to their native laws and custom refused to hand over the mortuary receipts and medical cause of death certificate to the family, thus preventing them from taking the body, while she went ahead to have a memorial service for the deceased in Accra without the consent of the family of the deceased.
According to Chief Dumo, the principal members of the family reported the matter to the Nigeria Police Force which commenced investigations into the circumstances of the death of High Chief.
He said the Nigerian Police, through Interpol, came to Ghana to seek the assistance of the Ghana Police Service, Criminal Investigations Service to investigate the death of High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
“The Ghana Police set a date for the autopsy and informed the parties at a meeting, which was subsequently confirmed by letter dated 15th July 2019. The contents of the letter issued by the Ghana Police was to the effect that the autopsy would be done at 37 Military Hospital and among other things, that three sets of samples would be taken from deceased for further testing, with each party (the police, the widow and the principal members of the family) getting one sample each.
“On Thursday, 18th July 2019, following an application to the Court, the High Court, Accra presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, adopted the aforesaid agreement of the parties as the Order of the Court, which said Order among other things confirmed that three sets of samples for examination would be taken during the autopsy and the Police shall take one sample while the two parties would also take one each if so requested,” he said.
He said contrary to the aforesaid Order of the Court and in a rather bizarre twist of events, the autopsy was conducted by one Dr Lawrence Adusei, instead of the named Col. (Dr) Attoh.
“Dr Lawrence Adusei emphatically denied our request for a sample. The principal members of the family have since petitioned the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Ghana Police Service, regarding the credibility of the autopsy,” he added.
Chief Dumo said the family’s lawyer, Nana Agyei Baffour Awuah has applied for an order of injunction restraining the widow from taking the corpse outside of Ghana and out of the reach of the family members of the deceased immediately after the autopsy.
He said though the principal members of the family of the late High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs have reached out to the widow through her lawyers to resolve the issues so that they can arrange to take the body of their late father and husband home for a befitting burial as soon as possible, the response of the widow has been two writs of summons and a motion for an injunction issued against him and his brothers.
Meanwhile, the matter continues in the High Court, Accra to determine who is the rightful party to take the body of the late High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs for burial, while the Ghana Police Service, the Nigerian Police Force and Interpol continue their investigations to establish the circumstances surrounding his death.