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Queen Elizabeth dies at 96, ending an era for Britain

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BALMORAL, Scotland, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the nation’s figurehead and a towering presence on the world stage for seven decades, died peacefully at her home in Scotland on Thursday aged 96.

“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” the new king, her eldest son Charles, said.

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world,” the 73-year-old said in a statement.

News that the queen’s health was deteriorating emerged shortly after midday on Thursday when her doctors said she was under medical supervision, prompting her family to rush to Scotland to be by her side.

Thousands gathered outside Buckingham Palace, in central London, and there was a stunned silence when the flag was lowered to half-mast. The crowd surged to the gates as the notice announcing the death of the only monarch most Britons have ever known was attached to the black iron gates.

On the grand Mall boulevard leading to the palace, black London taxis lined up in tribute.

Buckingham Palace said King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, would remain at Balmoral Castle, where the queen died, before returning to London on Friday, when he is expected to address the nation.

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On Elizabeth’s death, Charles automatically becomes monarch of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

‘HUGE SHOCK TO THE NATION’

The queen had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace had called “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year, forcing her to withdraw from nearly all her public engagements. Her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, died in 2021.

Her last public duty came only on Tuesday, when she appointed Liz Truss prime minister – the 15th of her reign.

“The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world,” Truss said outside her Downing Street office where the flag, like those at royal palaces and government buildings across Britain, were lowered.

“Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed. She was the very spirit of Great Britain – and that spirit will endure.”

The news stunned not only people in Britain, with condolences pouring in from leaders around the world. In Paris, the mayor announced the lights of the Eiffel Tower would be turned off in honour of her passing.

“Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world,” U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife Jill said in a statement.

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Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, came to the throne following the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25.

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CROWNED

She was crowned in June the following year. The first televised coronation was a foretaste of a new world in which the lives of the royals were to become increasingly scrutinised by the media.

“I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust,” she said in a speech to her subjects on her coronation day.

Elizabeth became monarch at a time when Britain still retained much of its old empire. It was emerging from the ravages of World War Two, with food rationing still in force and class and privilege still dominant in society.

Winston Churchill was Britain’s prime minister at the time, Josef Stalin led the Soviet Union and the Korean War was raging.

In the decades that followed, Elizabeth witnessed massive political change and social upheaval at home and abroad. Her own family’s tribulations, most notably the divorce of Charles and his late first wife Diana, were played out in full public glare.

While remaining an enduring symbol of stability and continuity for Britons at a time of relative national economic decline, Elizabeth also tried to adapt the ancient institution of monarchy to the demands of the modern era.

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“She has managed to modernise and evolve the monarchy like no other,” her grandson Prince William, who is now heir to the throne, said in a 2012 documentary.

RECORDS

Elizabeth was the 40th monarch in a royal line that followed Norman King William the Conqueror, who claimed the English throne in 1066 after defeating Anglo-Saxon ruler Harold II at the Battle of Hastings.

Her long reign meant she repeatedly broke records for British rulers. When she surpassed the more than 63 years her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria spent on the throne, she said it was not a landmark to which she had ever aspired.

“Inevitably a long life can pass by many milestones – my own is no exception,” she said.

Her marriage to Prince Philip lasted 73 years, until his death in April 2021, and they had four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

She never gave a media interview and critics said she came across as distant and aloof.

But for the vast majority of her subjects, for whom she was the only monarch they have known, she was a figure who commanded respect and admiration. Her death marks the end of an era.

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“In her public duties she was selfless and wise, with a wonderful generosity of spirit. That is how she lived – and how she led,” former Prime Minister John Major said.

“For millions of people – across the Commonwealth and the wider world – she embodied the heart and soul of our nation, and was admired and respected around the globe.”

Opinion polls have suggested that Charles does not enjoy anywhere near the same level of support and there is speculation that the loss of Elizabeth may see a rise in republican sentiment, particularly in the other realms.

“We know that, in losing our beloved queen, we have lost the person whose steadfast loyalty, service and humility has helped us make sense of who we are through decades of extraordinary change in our world, nation and society,” the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said.

At her death the queen was head of state of not only the United Kingdom but also of Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda.

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AFRICA

Nigeria’s AfriGo to Rival Visa, Mastercard – Central Bank

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has launched the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme, AfriGo, aimed at creating a more robust payment system that would drive financial inclusion in the country.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, has said that transaction charges on all cards would henceforth be paid in Naira, except for international transactions.

Emefiele said the card, which will function like other international payment cards, is aimed at boosting financial inclusion in the country and reducing dependence on foreign cards. He added that “by this initiative, will therefore be joining countries like China, Russia, Turkey and India which have launched domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits for their respective payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.”

The national domestic card is expected to rival Visa and Mastercard, the market’s biggest players.

The announcement follows last year’s decision to phase out old higher denomination bank notes. The new notes came into circulation effect on December 15, 2022.

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AFRICA

The Gospel of the “Obi-Datti” Movement

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Nigeria 23:57….. and it came to pass in those days as Peter the son of Obi journeyed from Kaduna unto Kano, a great multitude followed him as he spake unto them saying; behold, I will do a new thing in Northern Nigeria, if thou and thy children shall vote for me, we will prosper thy land and thy seed shall eat the fruits thereof, for what profiteth the North that thou hast great land and thy offspring suffereth hunger and starvation.

 

As he spake these things, the Kadunites and the Kanites marvelled and they spake one to another, what manner of man is this that bringeth hope unto us. The people spread the good news of Peter and his brother Datti and whole city rejoiced at the marvelous things he spake unto them. Many were baptized unto OBIDIENCE and the number of those baptized were Nine hundredth and forty thousand men, with women and children not counted.

 

….. An excerpt from one of the “obedients” that got our attention inhouse. With the elections at hand in Nigeria, it would be advisable for all to get their PVC’s and go vote for their candidate.

 

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AFRICA

Tanzanian opposition leader returns home after years in exile

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Tanzanian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Tundu Lissu returned home from years of exile in Belgium to a cheering crowd on Wednesday, after the government lifted a ban on political rallies.

A former lawmaker and a fierce critic of the government, Lissu initially left the country to seek treatment abroad after he was shot 16 times, mostly in his lower abdomen, in an attack by unknown gunmen in the administrative capital Dodoma in 2017.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan lifted a ban on political rallies this month, more than six years after her predecessor John Magufuli imposed the measure which caused frequent run-ins between opposition leaders and police.

The move was welcomed by the opposition and it prompted Lissu to announce he would end his exile.

He was welcomed by a large gathering of his supporters at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, before making his way by car to a rally in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Exile had been tough, he told the crowd which was waving his CHADEMA party flags, adding he would push for the enactment of a new constitution.

“Without a new constitution it will be difficult to change anything. Without it we won’t have a free and independent electoral commission,” he said.

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The current constitution vested too much power in the executive, he said, adding it was imperative to push for reforms.

“If you are tired of all these high taxes, high inflation of food… let us find a political solution, let us find a new constitution,” Lissu said.

Lissu, who had been arrested eight times in the year leading up to the gun attack he survived, returned to his homeland in 2020 to challenge Magufuli in an election.

However, shortly after the election he fled to the residence of the German ambassador after receiving death threats, and then left the country again.

Under the ban on rallies, which came into force in 2016, elected politicians were allowed to conduct rallies in their constituencies but other political rallies or protests were prohibited.

Magufuli died in March 2021 due to a heart disease that had plagued him for a decade. Upon ascending to the presidency, Hassan undertook some reforms, including lifting a ban on newspapers deemed critical and opening talks with opposition leaders.

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Nigeria: Federal Govt Sets Up 14-Man Committee to Manage Petroleum Products Supply, Distribution

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In a move to find lasting solution to the disruptions in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the constitution of a 14-man Steering Committee on Petroleum Products Supply and Distribution management, which he will personally chair, the ministry of petroleum resources announced yesterday.

The Steering Committee, which has minister of state for Petroleum Resource, Chief Timipre Sylva as alternate chairman is expected to among other things to ensure transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

Other terms of reference are to ensure national strategic stock management, visibility on the NNPC Limited refineries rehabilitation programme and ensure end-end tracking of petroleum products, especial PMS to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.

To further ensure sanity in the supply and distribution across the value chain, Sylva has directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to ensure strict compliance with the government approved ex-depot and retail prices for PMS.

The minister has further directed the NMDPRA to ensure that NNPC Limited, which is the supplier of last resort meets the domestic supply obligation of PMS and other petroleum products in the country.

He further directed that the interests of the ordinary Nigerian is protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as AGO and DPK and LPG.

The federal government will not allow misguided elements to bring untold hardship upon the citizenry and attempt to discredit government’s efforts in consolidating the gains made thus far in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

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Other members of the committee are minister of Finance, permanent secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Economic Adviser to the President, director-general, Department of State Services (DSS), comptroller-general, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Member (EFCC), and commandant-general, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)

Others who made up the Steering Committee are Authority chief executive, Nigerian Midstream and Member Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), group chief executive officer, NNPC Limited, Special Advisor (Special Duties) to the HMSPR while the Technical Advisor (Midstream) to the HMSPR will serve as Secretary.

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