Nigerian statesman O.B. Lulu-Briggs, 84, is founder of oil exploration company Moni Pulo Ltd. He was the vice chairman of the now-defunct National Party of Nigeria, the dominant political party in Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. He was named one of the 10 richest Nigerians in 2014 with an estimated net worth of $500 million. Here are 12 things you didn’t know about O.B. Lulu-Briggs.
Lulu-Briggs was born on the small island of Abonnema in River State. Lulu-Briggs has described a fairy tale-like upbringing, saying, “We fished, danced, sang in the choir, chased the great masquerades and learnt so many crafts, and listened to a lot of folklore and history.” His father died when he was young and his only brother died just 11 days later. At one point he struggled to stay in school because his family didn’t have money.
Lulu-Brigg’s wife, Seinye Lulu-Briggs, is a pastor. The couple has a cathedral on their property and holds morning prayer daily. Locals come to the service, and are provided with songbooks. Seinye has a history in banking, and once served as the head of computer operations at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lagos.
In 2008 Seinye was abducted and the kidnappers demanded millions in ransom. The kidnappers attacked the Lulu-Briggs’ estate, killing one person on the property and injuring two policemen. Seinye was released after spending about 24 hours with her kidnappers. The family claimed they did not pay the ransom.
Lulu-Briggs lives on on a street named Armed Forces Avenue Drive. His is the only mansion — nearly a castle— among more modest homes. The house is surrounded by protective armed forces — a response by Lulu-Briggs to his wife’s abduction.
Lulu-Briggs suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Because the disease takes such a toll on his muscles, the statesman rides around his property on a scooter. His wife represents him at board meetings since his illness makes it difficult for him to speak clearly.
Lulu-Briggs’ son, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, is chairman of the National Maritime Academy, Oron, and the Federal Medical Center, Owerri. He has worked in the area of law in the gas and oil industries. Today he is the owner of Moni Pulo Ltd., which operates offshore oil mining concessions in the Niger Delta.
Lulu-Briggs founded the O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation which “provides humanitarian services to people in rural communities” according to its website. Some of the foundation’s missions include bringing clean water to rural areas in River State and giving scholarships to law students.
At an awards ceremony Lulu-Briggs said, “The true world of a man is the way he treats people who are absolutely in need. If you care about people in need, you are actually making a contribution to the development of the nation.”
In recent years, Lulu-Briggs and his wife have turned their charitable attentions towards Nigeria’s elderly who have been neglected by their families, lost their savings and even their homes. The Lulu-Briggs foundation provides monthly allowances and even houses for some individuals.
To give you some idea of how Lulu-Briggs likes to celebrate, for his 56th birthday, more than 200 people who had been touched by the Lulu-Briggs family were invited to show up, give their blessings and partake in a very, very big birthday cake.
Lulu-Briggs dedicated some of his foundation’s money to developing modern toilet systems and quarters for inmates of Port Harcourt prison.
Lulu-Briggs’ son, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, has mentioned in several interviews that his father encouraged him to go into law, even when as a child he didn’t think he wanted to be a lawyer. Today he said he is grateful his father pushed him to study law because it helps him in all his lines of work.