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BREAKING: Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96

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Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history and an icon instantly recognisable to billions of people around the world, died on Thursday. She was 96.

 

Buckingham Palace announced her death in a short statement, triggering 10 days of national mourning and an outpouring of tributes to her long life and record-breaking reign.

 

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at 6:30 pm (1730 GMT).

 

“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

 

The eldest of her four children, Charles, Prince of Wales, who at 73 is the oldest heir apparent in British history, becomes king immediately.

 

The queen’s death came after the palace announced on Thursday that doctors were “concerned” for her health and recommended she stayed under medical supervision.

 

All her children — Charles, Princess Anne, 72, Prince Andrew, 62, and Prince Edward, 58, flocked to her Scottish Highland retreat, Balmoral.

 

They were joined by Charles’s sons, Prince William, and his estranged brother Prince Harry.

 

Two days earlier the queen appointed Liz Truss as the 15th prime minister of her reign and was seen smiling in photographs but looking frail and using a walking stick.

 

One photograph of the meeting sparked alarm, showing a deep purple bruise on the monarch’s right hand.

 

Seismic change 

Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne aged just 25 in 1952 in the aftermath of World War II, joining a world stage dominated by political figures from China’s Mao Zedong to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and US president Dwight D. Eisenhower.

 

Her 70-year reign straddled two centuries of seismic social, political and technological upheaval.

 

The last vestiges of Britain’s vast empire crumbled. At home, Brexit shook the foundations of her kingdom, and her family endured a series of scandals.

 

But throughout, she remained consistently popular and was queen and head of state not just of the United Kingdom but 14 former British colonies, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

 

She was also head of the 56-nation Commonwealth, which takes in a quarter of humanity, and supreme governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion.

 

But questions will be asked about whether the golden age of the British monarchy has now passed, how an ancient institution can remain viable in the modern era and whether Charles will command the same respect or reign in his mother’s shadow.

 

Official Mourning

 

Television and radio stations interrupted regular programming to broadcast the news, with long-rehearsed special schedules set in place to remember her long life and reign.

 

The national anthem, “God Save the Queen”, was played. Flags were lowered and church bells tolled to remember a woman once described as the “last global monarch”.

 

The national mourning period will culminate in a final public farewell at Westminster Abbey in central London.

 

Charles’ coronation, an elaborate ritual steeped in tradition and history, will take place in the same historic surroundings, as it has for centuries, on a date to be fixed.

 

Longevity

 

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was for most of her subjects the only monarch they have ever known — an immutable figurehead on stamps, banknotes and coins.

 

Diminutive in stature yet an icon of popular culture, she was instantly recognisable in her brightly coloured suits and matching hat, with pearls, gloves and a handbag.

 

During her reign, the royals went from stiff, remote figures to tabloid fodder and were then popularised anew in television dramas such as “The Crown,” watched by tens of millions worldwide.

 

Her time on the throne spanned an era of remarkable change, from the Cold War to the 9/11 attacks, from climate change to coronavirus, “snail mail” and steam ships to email and space exploration.

 

She became seen as the living embodiment of post-war Britain and a link between the modern era and a bygone age.

 

The mother of one of the most famous families in the world, she retained huge public support throughout, surviving even a backlash in the wake of the death of Charles’ first wife, Diana, in 1997.

 

More recently, the royal family was rocked by claims from Prince Harry and his mixed-race wife Meghan of racism in the royal family.

 

She also endured a scandal involving her second son Prince Andrew, whose friendship with convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell saw him settle a civil claim for sexual assault in the United States.

 

convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell saw him settle a civil claim for sexual assault in the United States.

 

‘None of us will live Forever’ 

Britons were jolted into recognising the beginning of the end of her reign when in April 2021 she lost her beloved husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Yet the palace had long recognised her mortality and the transition to Charles was already well under way.

He, his eldest son Prince William, who now becomes heir, and his wife, Catherine, began to assume more of the queen’s official roles.

The coronavirus pandemic and her advanced years forced her into the splendid isolation of Windsor Castle, west of London.

But from behind its stately walls, she remained a reassuring presence, popping up on video calls with members of the public.

In a rare, televised address during the first lockdown, she recalled the “Blitz spirit” of Britain under siege during World War II that defined her generation.

“We will meet again,” she said.

She cast off the shroud of Philip’s death and her enforced confinement to resume public duties, but age and ill-health forced her slow down.

After a unscheduled night in hospital in October 2021 following undisclosed health tests, her appearances became rarer.

“None of us will live forever,” she told world leaders attending a UN climate change summit soon afterwards, urging them to leave a legacy for generations to come.

One of her last decisive acts was to settle an unanswered question for the succession, giving her blessing for Charles’ second wife, Camilla, to be called “queen consort”.

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BREAKING: Appeal Court Stops Execution Of Judgment Releasing Kanu

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday stopped the execution of its own judgment which faulted the rendition of Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria and also set aside the terrorism charges against him.

 

Justice Haruna Tsanami in a ruling upheld the application of the Federal Government and ordered that the execution of the judgment be put on hold.

 

The Federal Government had applied that the execution of the judgment be suspended pending the resolution of its appeal lodged at the Supreme Court.

Justice Tsanami in the briefing ruling held that the counter affidavit filed against the Federal Government’s application by Kanu’s legal team was misleading.

 

Details Later…

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BREAKING: Appeal Court Acquits Nnamdi Kanu, Challenges High Court’s Jurisdiction

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The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has discharged the embattled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

 

Kanu is being prosecuted by the Federal Government at the Federal High Court in Abuja for 15 count charges bordering on treasonable felony, terrorism, and offences he allegedly committed in the course of his separatist campaigns.

 

A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal however said the Federal High Court lacks the jurisdiction to try him in view of his abduction and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria in flagrant violation of the OAU convention and protocol on extradition.

The court held that the 15-count charge preferred against Kanu did not disclose the place, date, time and nature of the alleged offences before being unlawfully extradited to Nigeria in clear violation of international treaties.

 

The court further held that the Federal Government failed to disclose where Nnamdi Kanu was arrested despite the grave allegations against him.

 

The court noted that the act of abduction and extraordinary rendition of Kanu from Kenya without due process is a violation of his right.

 

It added that the manner in which Nnamdi Kanu was procured and brought before the court was not evaluated by the lower court, before assuming jurisdiction to try him.

 

The lower court having failed to address the preliminary objection challenging its jurisdiction particularly the issue of abduction and extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria, the lower court failed to take cognizance of the fact that a warrant of arrest can only be executed anywhere within Nigeria, the appeal court judgement said.

 

The court further held that the trial judge was in grave error to have breached the right to fair hearing of Nnamdi Kanu

The African Charter on Human and People’s rights are part of the laws of Nigeria and courts must abide by the laws without pandering to the aim of the Executive, the appeal court said.

 

Treason charges

Mr. Kanu has repeatedly called for the breakaway of a significant chunk of southern Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra.

On October 2015, he was arrested by Nigerian authorities on an 11-count charge bordering on “terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.”

He was granted bail on April 2017 for medical reasons.

However, Mr. Kanu fled the country in September 2017 after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.

He was then sighted in Israel and later continued to rally his supporters in Nigeria to employ violence in achieving secession.

“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian States and institutions,” Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said after Kanu was rearrested and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021.

“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para military, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”

Mr. Kanu has denied any wrongdoing.

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Buhari To Present 2023 Budget To National Assembly Today

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President Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday present the N19.76 trillion 2023 Budget to the National Assembly in Abuja.

The presentation will take place 10am at the temporary chamber of House of Representatives.

The Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, had said the President will present the 2023 appropriation to the National Assembly in September.

He had said the 2023 budget was prepared in tandem with extant Federal Government policies and guidelines as articulated in the 2023 Budget Call Circular and other relevant laws and regulations.

Buhari had in December 2021 signed the 2022 Appropriation Bill into law with an aggregate expenditures of N17.127trillion, an increase of N735.85 billion over the initial Executive Proposal for a total expenditure of N16.391 trillion.

More to follow…

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