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Johnson’s office apologizes to Queen Elizabeth for party on eve of funeral

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office apologized to Queen Elizabeth on Friday after it emerged that staff had partied late into the night in Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral, at a time when mixing indoors was banned.

Johnson is facing the gravest crisis of his premiership after almost daily revelations about a series of social gatherings during Covid-19 lockdowns, some held when ordinary people could not bid farewell in person to dying relatives.

After building a political career out of flouting accepted norms, Johnson is now under growing pressure from some of his own lawmakers to quit. Opponents say he is unfit to rule and has misled parliament by denying Covid-19 guidance was breached.

In an extraordinary twist to a saga that has been widely lampooned by comedians and cartoon artists, the Daily Telegraph said drinks parties were held inside Downing Street on April 16, 2021, the day before Prince Philip’s funeral.

“It is deeply regrettable this took place at a time of national mourning and No. 10 (Downing Street) has apologized to the Palace,” Johnson’s spokesman told reporters.

Johnson was at his Chequers country residence that day and was not invited to any gathering, his spokesman said.

Such was the revelry in Downing Street, the Telegraph said, that staff went to a nearby supermarket to buy a suitcase of alcohol, spilled wine on carpets, and a swing used by the prime minister’s young son was broken.

The next day, Queen Elizabeth bade farewell to Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years, following his death aged 99.

Dressed in black and in a white trimmed black face mask, the 95-year-old Elizabeth cut a poignant figure as she sat alone, in strict compliance with coronavirus rules, during the funeral service for Philip at Windsor Castle.

‘Leave the stage’
Opponents have called for Johnson, 57, to resign, casting him as a charlatan who demanded the British people follow some of the most onerous rules in peacetime history while his own staff partied at the heart of the British state.

A small but growing number in his own Conservative Party have echoed those calls, fearing it will do lasting damage to its electoral prospects.

“Sadly, the Prime Minister’s position has become untenable,” said Conservative lawmaker Andrew Bridgen, a former Johnson supporter. “The time is right to leave the stage.”

Johnson has given a variety of explanations of the parties, ranging from denials that any rules were broken to expressing understanding for the public anger at apparent hypocrisy at the heart of the British state.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, seen as a possible successor, said “real mistakes” were made.

“We need to look at the overall position we’re in as a country, the fact that he (Johnson) has delivered Brexit, that we are recovering from Covid… He has apologized.”

“I think we now need to move on.”

To trigger a leadership challenge, 54 of the 360 Conservative members of parliament must write letters of no confidence to the chairman of the party’s “1922 Committee”.

The Telegraph said as many as 30 such letters had been submitted.

Johnson faces a tough year ahead: beyond Covid, inflation is soaring, energy bills are spiking, taxation will rise in April and his party faces local elections in May.

One of the April 2021 parties was a leaving event for James Slack, a former director of communications at Downing Street, who on Friday apologised “for the anger and hurt caused”.

Slack, now deputy editor of the tabloid Sun newspaper, said in a statement to PA Media that the gathering “should not have happened at the time that it did”.

British police said on Thursday they would not investigate gatherings held in Johnson’s residence during a coronavirus lockdown unless an internal government inquiry finds evidence of potential criminal offences.

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Osinbajo to represent Buhari at 61st ordinary session of ECOWAS heads of state in Ghana

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will on Saturday depart Lagos for Accra, Ghana to represent Nigeria at the 61st Ordinary Session of the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government holding tomorrow.

Prof. Osinbajo, standing in for President Muhammadu Buhari at the summit, will join other leaders to deliberate and take decisions on the political, security and humanitarian issues among others regarding the sub-region at the regular ECOWAS summit.

The meeting will also review the situations in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, particularly towards restoring democratic rule. West African leaders have since 2020 held several sessions, including emergency meetings, dedicated to finding lasting solutions to the resurgence of coups in some of the countries in the sub-region.

At the summit tomorrow, the Mediation and Security Council of ECOWAS will update leaders on political developments in the region and in the sahel region.

The Council will also provide updates on the issues of insecurity, challenges relating to youth unemployment and the impact of diseases and pandemics on social tensions in the region.

Only recently on 4th June, 2022 in Accra, Ghana, President Buhari joined other ECOWAS leaders to deliberate on the situation in the sub-region, urging more attention to be paid to the victims of unconstitutional change of government

On the sidelines of the summit, the VP will also attend a meeting of the five West African countries involved with “The Abidjan – Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project,” a flagship project of the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). It connects the capitals of five West African states (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria) and stretches for approximately 1,028 km.

A release from ECOWAS Commission says the objective of this $42million project is “to promote cross-border trade, integrate economies within the ECOWAS area, reduce transport costs, stimulate inter-regional trade and strengthen regional integration in West Africa.”

The Vice President who will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Zubairu Dada and some other members of the Federal Executive Council is expected back in Abuja later on Sunday.

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Candlelight vigil held at Nigeria House, London to mark 1-year anniversary of July 1 attack on Sunday Igboho’s house

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Scores of Yoruba Nation agitators on Friday held a vigil in London to mark the one-year anniversary of the July 1, 2021 attack on the Ibadan residence of the embattled Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho. 

Dozens of candles shined on the Nigeria House, London on Friday evening as the agitators, gathered for a candlelight vigil to reflect on the attack of July 1, 2021 and demanded self determination for the Yorubas.

Recall that the Department of State Services (DSS) had on July 1, 2021 raided the residence of the activist in Ibadan, Oyo state.

The DSS raided the residence, killing two people and arresting 12 aides but Igboho escaped.

The agency alleged that Igboho was stockpiling weapons, and subsequently declared him wanted.

Igboho was, however, arrested by the Benin Republic police on July 19 at Cardinal Bernardin International Airport in Cotonou while trying to fly from the country to Germany.

See photos from the vigil

Candlelight & Memorial Service to mark 1-year anniversary of July 1 attack on Sunday Igboho’s house
Candlelight & Memorial Service to mark 1-year anniversary of July 1 attack on Sunday Igboho’s house
Candlelight & Memorial Service to mark 1-year anniversary of July 1 attack on Sunday Igboho’s house

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‘Be ready to face God’s wrath if you blaspheme against Jesus’- Adeboye 

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The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E.A. Adeboye, has warned that any individual that blasphemes Jesus will taste the wrath of God.

Adeboye, who spoke to his congregation at the RCCG monthly Holy Ghost Service for the month of July, which was held late Friday/early Saturday, made the comment as he reacted to the recent attacks and killings targeting churches and worshippers in some parts of the country.

Religion Nigeria reported that no fewer than 40 Catholics were killed by unknown gunmen in June at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State.

Two weeks after the Owo attack. bandits killed three persons during separate attacks on the Baptist Church and the St. Moses Catholic Church, all in the Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

He also took time to respond to a comment allegedly made by controversial On-Air Personality, Daddy Freeze, who alleged that some women turned to Ogun (god of thunder) to rain curses on the terrorists who massacred worshippers in Owo because “Bros J” (a nickname for Jesus which is common amongst Nigerians) did not answer them.

Freeze had written last month, “When dem call bros J and he nor answer dem nko? We abandoned African paganism to adopt European pagan ideologies. Until we start telling ourselves the truth and take our security issues more seriously this won’t end. Christ’s message is love and that’s the first thing so glaringly missing in Nigeria.”

Reacting, Adeboye said, “I understand that one funny fellow said that some people were calling on Ogun because Jesus didn’t answer them.

“Well, the one who said that there’s a Yoruba proverb, it said, the mouth that the snail uses to blasphemy God, that mouth would kiss the ground. From now on, anybody who dares blaspheme Jesus Christ, they will taste the fire of the Almighty God.”

Speaking further, the revered clergyman stated that, “Safety is of the Lord and nobody dies until their time comes.

“I don’t want to say much, because I know whatever I say, some people may want to twist it. But I’ve searched the Bible from cover to cover and there is nowhere in the Bible where God said a child of God cannot defend himself.

“If you find the place, let me know. He said, if they slap you on the right cheek, turn the left. If they now slap the left, what did he say? When God is silent, do you know the meaning of that, it simply means, over to you.

“Every enemy of the church, as long as my Father is still on the throne, as long as Jesus lives, as long as His name is the consuming fire, if they don’t repent, the fire of God will consume them. I’m not talking to everybody o, I’m only talking to my children.”

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