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King Charles III crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey

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King Charles III was crowned on Saturday in Britain’s biggest ceremonial event for seven decades, a sumptuous display of pageantry dating back 1,000 years.

In front of a congregation of about 100 world leaders and a television audience of millions, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, slowly placed the 360-year-old St Edward’s Crown on Charles’ head as he sat upon a 14th-century throne in Westminster Abbey.

The historic and solemn event dates back to the time of the 74-year-old’s predecessor William the Conqueror in 1066.

Charles’ second wife Camilla, 75, will be crowned queen during the two-hour ceremony, which while rooted in history, is also an attempt to present a forward-looking monarchy, with those involved in the service reflecting a more diverse Britain and leaders from all faiths.

For a nation struggling to find its way in the political maelstrom after its exit from the European Union and maintain its standing in a new world order, its supporters say the royal family provides an international draw, a vital diplomatic tool, and a means of staying on the world stage.

“No other country could put on such a dazzling display – the processions, the pageantry, the ceremonies, and street parties,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

Despite Sunak’s enthusiasm, the coronation takes place amid a cost of living crisis and public scepticism, particularly among the young, about the role and relevance of the monarchy.

Saturday’s event was on a smaller scale than that staged for Queen Elizabeth in 1953 but still sought to be spectacular, featuring an array of historical regalia from golden orbs and bejewelled swords to a sceptre holding the world’s largest colourless cut diamond.

Charles automatically succeeded his mother as king on her death last September, and the coronation is not essential but regarded as a means to legitimise the monarch in a public way.

The king and queen left Buckingham Palace for the abbey in the modern, black Diamond State Jubilee Coach accompanied by cavalrymen wearing shining breastplates and plumed helmets.

Hundreds of soldiers in scarlet uniforms and black bearskin hats lined the route along The Mall, the grand boulevard to Buckingham Palace. Tens of thousands ignored the light rain to mass in a crowd more than 20 deep in some places to watch what some saw as a moment of history.

“The split-second glance of seeing the king is really important but I think the whole day as well … the idea of the nation coming together.

“You very much feel the pride in the nation,” said Mark Strasshine after the royal coach went by.

However, not all were there to cheer Charles, hundreds of republicans booed and waved banners reading “Not My King”.

More than 11,000 police were deployed to stamp out any attempted disruption, and the Republic campaign group said its leader Graham Smith had been arrested along with five other protesters.

“It is an unequal and out-of-date system because it has a hereditary billionaire individual born into wealth and privilege who basically symbolises the inequality of wealth and power in our society,” said lawmaker Clive Lewis, who was among the anti-monarchy protesters.

King Charles III receives The St Edward’s Crown during his coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London. Picture Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

Inside the abbey, bedecked with flowers and flags, politicians and representatives from Commonwealth nations took their seats alongside charity workers and celebrities, including actors Emma Thompson, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and U.S. singer Katy Perry.

Much of the ceremony featured elements that Charles’ forebears right back to King Edgar in 973 would recognise, officials said. Handel’s coronation anthem “Zadok The Priest” was sung as it has been at every coronation since 1727.

But there was also the new, including an anthem composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, famed for his West End and Broadway theatre shows, and a gospel choir.

Charles’ grandson Prince George and the grandchildren of Camilla acted as pages, and although a Christian service, at the end there will be an “unprecedented” greeting from faith leaders.

However, there was no formal role for either Charles’ younger son Prince Harry, after his high-profile falling out with his family, or his brother Prince Andrew, who was forced to quit royal duties because of his friendship with late U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender.

They sat in the third row behind working members of the royal family.

Charles looked serious as he swore oaths to govern justly and uphold the Church of England – of which he is the titular head – before the most sacred part of the ceremony when he was anointed on his hands, head, and breast by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby with holy oil consecrated in Jerusalem.

After being presented with symbolic regalia, Welby placed the St Edward’s Crown on his head and the congregation cried out “God save the King”.

After the service, Charles and Camilla will depart in the four-tonne Gold State Coach built for George III, the last king of Britain’s American colonies, riding to Buckingham Palace in a one-mile procession of 4,000 military personnel from 39 nations.

It will be the largest show of its kind in Britain since the coronation of Charles’ mother.

“When you see everyone dressed up and taking part it is just fantastic. It makes you so proud,” said teacher Andy Mitchell, 63, who left his house in the early hours to get into London.

“My big concern is that younger people are losing interest in all of this and it won’t be the same in the future.” 

– Reuters

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crime

ENUGU: Police Arrest 83 Suspects, Rescue 20 Kidnapped Victims

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Gunmen Abduct NPC Commissioner, Aides At Rivers Section Of East-West Road

The Police Command in Enugu State says it arrested 83 criminal suspects and rescued 20 kidnapped victims within the state from Jan. 1, 2024, till date.

The offences for which the suspects were arrested included abduction, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, defilement and vandalism among other crimes committed within the state in the period under review.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Kanayo Uzuegbu, disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing newsmen on the successes of the Command since the beginning of the year.

Uzuegbu noted that 46 firearms of different calibers were recovered as well as 125 ammunition of different calibres were recovered within the period under review.

According to him, 36 motor vehicles were recovered; six tricycles were recovered and 15 motorcycles were also recovered by gallant and eagle-eyed crime fighting officers and men of the Command.

He said many of the arrested suspects had been arraigned in court and remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service Custodial Centre, while others would be prosecuted accordingly once investigations are concluded.

The commissioner said that proactive and people’s centred policing approaches of the Command had started yielding the expected results.

Police arraign Lagos businessman for alleged theft of N3.5m phones

“I wish to specially thank the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, for the immense support his Administration has continued to extend to the police in the state.

“In the same vein, I profoundly thank and appreciate the Inspector-General of Police, Dr Kayode Egbetokun, for his visionary and pragmatic leadership style, which have brought about the policing strides recorded in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole.

“Additionally, I express my immense gratitude to my colleagues in sister security agencies and the entire security stakeholders in Enugu State, for all the collaborative support we enjoyed in 2023, and which has continued into 2024.

“I also want to thank and appreciate my officers and men for their diligence, hard work and dedication to duty, which have resulted in the operational successes recorded.

“I urge them to remain focused and committed to actualizing the mandates of the Nigeria Police Force in Enugu State,” he said.

The commissioner maintained that discipline remained the bedrock of the Nigeria Police, adding: “I caution officers and men to shun acts of corruption, unprofessionalism and moral debasements, which bring with them severe disciplinary consequences”.

According to him, officers and men must remain professional, firm, upright and diligent in the performance of their duties.

He warned unrepentant criminals to turn over a new leaf, as “we shall more than ever, turn up the heat and make Enugu State more uncomfortable for them and their activities.”

He said: “And if they fail to repent, then we shall stop at nothing to ruthlessly deal with them.

“I also want to strongly caution rumour mongers, rabble-rousers and peddlers of fake, misinformative and disinformative news in Enugu State to desist forthwith, as the Police would not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone found wanting, in accordance with extant laws, particularly the Cybercrime Act.

“There is no doubt that the task of tackling the increasing security challenges in our society is daily becoming daunting.

“Nonetheless, the assurance I bring to the good people of Enugu State is that we will remain focused and unflinching in our commitment to enthrone a crime-free and peaceful environment for all and sundry to thrive in their legitimate enterprises.”

Uzuegbu urged the citizenry to remain law-abiding, security conscious and continue to support the police, through the provision of credible and actionable security information; while also reporting suspected criminals and their activities to the nearest police station. (

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Economy

FG Threatens To Open Borders for Cement Importation Over Price Hike

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Palpable fear has gripped cement manufacturers following the Federal Government’s threat to throw open the nation’s borders for cement importation if the product manufacturers fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper

Bags of cement

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of  Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold  its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James, Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola  Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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crime

Bill To Establish State Police Passes 2nd Reading At Reps

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Suspected bandits kill NIS personnel, injure 2 others in Jigawa

 …As Bandits kill 6 In Katsina

A  Bill for an act to establish State Police and other Related Matters thereto,  has passed a second reading in the House of Representatives.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill which will alter provisions of the 1999 Constitution to provide for the establishment,  was sponsored by Rep. Benjamin Kalu and 12 others.

Leading the debate at plenary in Abuja on Tuesday, Kalu who also presided, said in recent times, the nation’s collective security had been greatly challenged due to an upsurge in insecurity cases.

He said Nigeria operated a federation consisting of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, with 774 Local Government Areas, about 250 ethnic nationalities, and more than 200 million citizens.

Kalu said Nigeria has a vast terrain,  spanning over 920,000 square kilometers but regretted that currently, the nation operates a single centralised police system that employs less than 400,000 police officers and men.

Niger govt. rescues abducted Kagara students

He said there was no denying that the nation’s security architecture was under immense pressure.

Kalu also pointed out that  the fabric of any democracy remained woven with the threads of constant adaptation to the evolving needs of its society.

He added that at this point in our nationhood, state policing is not only inevitable but urgently desired to tackle the mounting challenges of insecurity.

According to him, the bill emerged as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement.

“It seeks to navigate the complex landscape of security challenges by empowering our states with the means to address issues unique to their localities.”

He said the proposed alteration represented not just a legal adjustment to our constitution but a visionary leap toward a safer, more secure, and more harmonious Nigeria.

He said the bill sought the transfer of “police” from the “exclusive legislative list” to the “concurrent legislative list,” adding that the move would effectively empower states to have state-controlled policing.

He said the bill would also prevent unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in state police affairs, emphasising collaboration and intervention only under well-defined circumstances.

Contributing, Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos), observed that police should be empowered to license any state willing,  that meet the requirements for state police, set up by the Police Service Commission.

He said the commission should be empowered to revoke and renew the licenses if such a state abused the license, adding that state police would reduce unemployment and relieve the recurrent expenditure on the Federal Government.

On his part, Rep. Awaji-numbek Abiante (PDP-Rivers), noted that the bill would cure the tragedy of the military decree of 1966.

He, however, called for caution, saying, “We have to be careful and committed enough to look at the bill thoroughly because this was not the first attempt for such bill.”

He said the bill should provide a sure way of guaranteeing the security of lives and property while underscoring the need for deliberate efforts toward making it a reality.

Rep. Ali Madaki (NNPP-Kano) noted that the bill was killed in the seventh Assembly but disclosed that the fear was to avert a situation whereby state governors would use the state police against political opponents.

He said there were high-security challenges nationwide,  adding that each state would deploy its police in a manner that would address their peculiarities.

Also speaking, Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Kano), said about 21 states, including Benue and Taraba were caught in the web of socio-political and ethno-religious crises and could surmount such challenges if they had control of their police.

He said some of the states clamoring for the establishment of state police were not economically viable.

He acknowledged that state policing remained a noble idea while citing a scenario where a state governor denied a political opponent landing at the airport.

He argued that such a governor was capable of using the state police for negative purposes,  and urged  the lawmakers to put all issues into perspective before enacting the law.

Rep. Ademorin Kuye (APC-Lagos),  argued that 400,000 policemen to 200 million Nigerians was insufficient.

He said that the deployment of a police officer to a state he was not familiar with would make him inefficient and ineffective in discharging his duties.

Rep. Ben Itanabene (LP-Delta), called for the establishment of a distinct police structure but feared that the use of state police would be under the control of governors.

He urged the house to delete the word ‘state” from the bill while calling for decentralization of the Federal Police by using Police Command.

Kalu, after listening to contributions, put the bill to vote, which was  unanimously passed by the lawmakers

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