7 February 2008

Nigeria: Gunmen Kidnap Lulu-Briggs' Wife

Port Harcourt — The Executive Vice Chairman of Moni Pulo Limited, an indigenous oil production company, Mrs. Seinye O.B.Lulu Briggs was in the early hours of yesterday kidnapped by unknown gun men from her old GRA residence.

There has not been any contact yet with the kidnappers who are yet to make any ransom demand while no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Unconfirmed reports last night, however said she may have been released.

THISDAY learnt that the husband and Chief Executive of the oil company, Chief O.B. Lulu Briggs was at home with his family when the armed men who started operations at 12.30 with heavy shooting and detonation of dynamites stormed the area.

Chief Briggs was the National Vice Chairman of theNigerian Peoples Party and a staunch member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) that battled the military.

It was however to clear how they managed to beat all the security mounted by the billionaire family to gain entrance to the fortified mansion where they made away with the wife of the oil magnet.

A statement issued by Julia Inyang Oku-Jacks Head Corporate Communications Moni Pulo Limited said "The Port Harcourt residence of Chief ( Dr.) O.B. Lulu-Briggs, OON, Chairman of Moni Pulo Limited, a fully indigenous oil exploration and production company, was attacked by armed men in the early hours of Wednesday, February 6, 2008.

While there was no loss of life in the residence during the attack, Mrs. Seinye O.B.Lulu-Briggs, wife of the Moni Pulo boss, was taken away to an unknown location. Chief himself is safe and unhurt".

No ransom demand has been made and the situation is currently under control.

The management of Moni Pulo Limited are working closely with the security agencies to totally normalise the situation. Chief ( Dr.) & Mrs. O.B. Lulu-Briggs are well known private and corporate philanthropists, as well as ardent supporters of peace, the rule of law and improvement of general living conditions in the Niger Delta regionInformation from the street was that the hoodlums hadattacked three other houses before getting to ChiefBriggs own where they met a stiff resistance from thepolicemen on duty there. This version was corroborated by the Commissioner ofPolice in the State, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu who explainedthat the four Mobile Policemen on guard at theresidence of the oil mogul engaged the invaders untilthey ran out of bullets and were wounded.

He also denied as untrue, the story that his menrefused to go to the aid of the family, adding thatthe Armoured Personnel Carrier from Mile One policestation which headed to the 17 Igbodo street residenceof Briggs had fuel pump problem on the way andstopped.Contrary to reports that the hoodlums operated at theplace from 12.30 to 3.00am, Ogbaudu said they operatedfor forty-five minutes starting from 2am to 2.45am andin addition to wounding his men on duty, also woundedan unnamed daughter of Briggs."Our men trailed them to Elechi Beach where theyescaped from and burnt a phanagon bus they used forthe operation to cover their tracks. The shooting atMile One was by the same group while they wereescaping", Ogbaudu said.

How the hoodlums managed to stay on in the areabetween the 12.30 am and 3am when they finally made itinto the house of the Ijaw interest crusader and tookaway his wife is still left to imagination. "It is a pity that a man who has contributed so muchto the development of the Niger Delta could be soshabbily treated. Chief was in the house when theycame but he is very safe, they saw him and took awaythe Executive Vice Chairman of the Moni Pulo."They attacked several houses on Igbodo Street beforethey got to Chief's house. If it has come to the pointof attacking our own people then it is a shame. Weknow that she will be released soon", a family sourcesaid.Inside the compound, the invaders tried to damageevery vehicle in sight, killed a guard dog andchiseled a bullet proof door in the house out of thewall before they gained entrance and not only lootedthe belongings of Mrs. Briggs but also took her along.Items taken away from the woman who just came into thecountry from a trip abroad two days ago included hertrinkets, foreign currencies, local currencies andother precious stones. She reportedly pleaded with theinvaders to take every other thing they desired andleave her but they refused.

Directly in front of the gate was a Hummer Jeep with abullet wound on its windscreen while glass doorsdownstairs had bullet wounds. Although some people rumoured that the kidnapperscontacted Professor Nimi Briggs, the State ElectoralIndependent Commission Chairman who was also kidnappedand released earlier on, he told THISDAY that "it isnot true" that he was contacted by the kidnappers.Governor Chibuike Amaechi with his Deputy, Tele Ikuruvisited the house of the Briggs while shortly afterleaving, the Ijaw National Congress President,Professor Kimse Okoko also visited.All attempts to make Mr. Dumo Lulu Briggs, son of theoil mogul who had contested Peoples Democratic Partyprimaries with Amaechi to respond to questions on theattack failed as he responded, "We have been asked notto talk on the issue" and drove away in his InfinityJeep marked DLB7.

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