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UK PM Boris Johnson admits attending Downing Street lockdown drinks party, resists calls to resign



Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologized on Wednesday after admitting he attended a “bring your own booze” Downing Street garden party in May 2020, saying he believed that it was a work event at the time.

Addressing lawmakers in the House of Commons, Johnson said he wished to apologize for his actions and said he knows there are people who feel rage toward him and his government over the so-called “partygate” scandal.

“There were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility,” Johnson said.

The prime minister conceded for the first time that he had attended the Downing Street garden party on May 20, 2020, claiming he had thought the gathering to be a work event at the time. He added that in hindsight he should have sent everyone back inside.

Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour Party, accused Johnson of “months of deceit and deception” and led calls in urging the prime minister to “do the decent thing and resign.”

Starmer also described Johnson’s defense that he did not realize the event was a party as “so ridiculous that it is actually offensive to the British public.”

In response to numerous calls to resign — from Members of Parliament within the ruling Conservative Party and opposition lawmakers — Johnson said he did not think he should pre-empt the outcome of an internal investigation led by senior government official Sue Gray.

Details of the party first emerged on Monday, when British broadcaster ITV published a leaked email from Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds. The bombshell revelation has prompted an enormous public backlash and destabilized Johnson’s premiership once again.

The email invited more than 100 Downing Street employees “to make the most of this lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No 10 garden” from 6 p.m. on May 20, 2020. The message was sent at a time when lockdown rules in England banned large outdoor gatherings.

Reynolds signed off the email by inviting staff to “bring your own booze!”

Less than an hour before the Downing Street garden party was scheduled, then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden delivered a daily Covid press conference to remind the public that they must only meet in pairs outdoors.

Sky News reported the prime minister and Carrie Johnson were both seen with about 40 staff in the Downing Street garden on May 20. Johnson’s spokesperson has refused to comment on the details.

‘Party Gate’ feels like the beginning of the end for PM Boris Johnson, professor says
It follows a string of other allegations regarding rule-breaking parties at Downing Street by Johnson and his officials and a host of other separate scandals, including the government’s awarding of lucrative Covid contracts and the refurbishment of Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, has suggested that if Johnson was at the party, and he had lied about it, his position would be “untenable.” Rayner has also called for the Metropolitan Police to investigate the claims. The Met has said it is in talks with the Cabinet Office.

Beginning of the end for Johnson?
“It is important to note that this isn’t the only source of disillusionment within the Conservative Party over Boris Johnson’s leadership,” Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Kent, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Wednesday.

Goodwin cited dissatisfaction among Conservative backbenches about what they see as a failure to make the most out of Brexit, disquiet over the move to raise taxes and an absence of strategy when it comes to “leveling up” — Johnson’s often-used political slogan referring to his bid to improve infrastructure in northern England.

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



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



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 



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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