New Year Joy As O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation Splashes Cash On Nonagenarians

A centenarian and six elderly citizens in their 90s received a joyous start to 2024, receiving N250, 000.00 each from the O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation. The presentation of the new award which the Foundation has instituted to honour and salute elders it cares for who attain the age of 90 was made during the Foundation’s annual New Year Party at the Biokpo Recreational Centre, Abonnema, headquarters of Asari Toru Local Government Area on Monday, January 1.

The overwhelmed nonagenarians shed tears of joy and expressed deep appreciation for the Foundation’s profound impact on their lives.

They were rendered speechless by the finely crafted award plaques and sizable portraits capturing their lifelong journeys which were part of the award from the Foundation.

“This gift means the world to me,” declared an overwhelmed Ma Rhoda Briggs, a centenarian who clocked 104 years late last year, speaking through an interpreter and unable to hold back tears of joy.

His eyes glistening with emotion, 92-year-old Pa Emmanuel Joe Briggs said, “I haven’t slept since I heard about this incredible honour. It’s beyond anything I could have imagined. God bless the Foundation and our dear Dr. Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs.

“96-year-old Ma Settle Georgewill, with a trembling voice filled with appreciation, shared, “I’ve lived a long life, but this act of kindness is truly beyond words. It’s a blessing I’ll forever treasure.”

Amidst the overwhelming emotions, other recipients echoed similar sentiments.  “This gesture reaffirms my faith in humanity,” remarked 99-year-old Pa Benjamin Yousouf.

Pa Alioma Romeo, 95, shared, “I’ll never forget this day. It’s a reminder that compassion knows no bounds”.

And 98-year-olds, Ma Basoene Walter and Ma Ibingibo Douglas, were unanimous in their expression of gratitude, praying fervently for more of God’s blessings upon the Foundation and its Chairman, Dr. Seinye O.B. Lulu-Briggs.

In her address to the elders, Dr Seinye O.B. Lulu-Briggs noted that the event is an annual tradition that marks the Foundation’s commitment to serving the elders’ needs and dates back to its ‘Care for Life Programme’, its first intervention 22 years ago.

She added that the programme has provided comprehensive support to over 600 elders in 12 local government areas, offering healthcare, monthly supplies, housing, and spiritual care.

The Foundation’s Chairman said, “Back then, elders in our community were practically invisible, especially those who could no longer fend for themselves and did not have children or relatives who could do so. Elder abuse was frequently reported in the news. The O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation began its operations by identifying and caring for such elders through our ‘Care for Life Programme’ 22 years ago.”

She added that since then, the Care for Life Programme has “provided over 600 elders from 12 Local Government Areas of Rivers State with healthcare, caregivers, monthly food supplies/or a daily feeding programme that includes lunch and dinner, monthly hygiene and essential household supplies, monthly cash stipends, housing, clothing, and spiritual care. It has also organized social events like today’s New Year party. We care for 87 elders in Abua, Akuku-Toru, Asari-Toru, Degema, Etche, and Port Harcourt local government areas.”

She expressed gratitude to all involved in the Care for Life Programme, acknowledging the vital role played by supporters, volunteers, staff, and evangelists in improving the lives of older people.

Adding a touch of cultural richness to the New Year party, the elders graced the event clad in exquisite Kalabari traditional attires. Women donned stunning white lace on George wrappers, while men exuded grace in white Etibo paired with George wrappers.

The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as singer Afy Douglas filled the air with melodies, prompting the elated elders to join in joyous dancing. The tempo of the festivities soared as the St. Augustine’s Anglican Church choir and the Chapel of God International Worship Center lifted spirits with soul-stirring hymns, praise, and worship.

This vibrant fusion of music and cultural expression created an ambience of jubilation and reverence, enriching the celebration and making it an unforgettable occasion for the older citizens.

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