The Oruwari-Briggs house of Abonnema in Akuku-Toru LGA of Rivers state, has appealed to Seinye, widow of the late Benson Lulu-Briggs, for an unconditional release of his body.
Chiefs in the house made the appeal alongside Dumo Lulu-Briggs, second eldest son of the deceased, at a press briefing in Port Harcourt, on Thursday.
The chiefs and other concerned members of the Oruwari-Briggs family appealed to Seinye to vacate the court injunction restraining the chief mourner from having access to the corpse of the deceased “being a philanthropist and a Calabari chief”.
The chiefs said they need to give the late Lulu-Briggs a befitting burial.
Speaking on behalf of the chiefs, Best Ajumogobia, spokesman of Oruwari-Briggs house, said it was a taboo to keep the body of the deceased no matter the reason.
“It is a taboo to unduly preserve the body of such an illustrious son of the Calabari kingdom for any reason no matter how good without putting to rest first, the body to mother earth,” he said.
Adokiye Jack, chairman of Oruwari-Briggs house, said: “We want Dr. Mrs Seinye to release the body of our high chief to us.”
Dumo, who also appealed to his step-mother, said they are willing to work with her to pay their late father his last respect.
“By the grace of God, we are going to appear on the 17, I will put forward (to the Ghana high court) the the position of the Oruwari house which is that let her release the body to us,” he said.
“By Calabari custom, the body needs to come home, that is what the tradition requires.
“By December 27, this year, it will be exactly one year my father passed on. His wife has refused to bring his remains back home for burial.
“The Amayanabo of Kalahari kingdom, TJT Princewill, has also spoken that the remains of the late chief be handed over to his family.
“If the court grants out request, all the chiefs will travel to Accra on December 27, 2019 to receive the remains of our father. We will deposit his remains in Port Harcourt and begin preparations to give him a befitting burial on January 25, 2020.”
He also thanked Nyesom Wike, governor of the state, for his intervention in the matter, saying his family will align with the state government for the burial billed for January 2020 if the body is released.