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Barbados Becomes World’s Newest Republic, Removes Queen Elizabeth II

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Fireworks filled the sky over Barbados on Tuesday as the Caribbean island nation declared itself the world’s newest republic, lowering Queen Elizabeth’s flag as it severed colonial-era ties to the British throne to the sound of jubilant gun salutes.

“Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage,” Dame Sandra Mason said in her inauguration speech as the first president of the country, recognizing the “complex, fractured and turbulent world” it would need to navigate.

“Our country must dream big dreams and fight to realize them,” the former governor-general told those gathered for the ceremony, including Britain’s Prince Charles.

The new era for the nation of 285,000 ends Britain’s centuries of influence, including more than 200 years of slavery until 1834.

Addressing the matter during the handover, Charles acknowledged the mark slavery had left on the two countries.

“From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” he told the crowd.

A long-running pandemic curfew was suspended to allow Barbadians to enjoy festivities, which included projections at various points across the country and large fireworks displays timed to mark the historic transition.

The “Pride of Nationhood” ceremony itself was closed to the wider public but Barbados’ most famous citizen, the singer Rihanna, took place alongside top officials for the event, complete with military parades, a mounted guard of honor and gun salutes.

One of the first acts of the prime minister of the new republic was to declare Rhianna a National Hero of Barbados: “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the international celebrity.

Barbados, famous for its idyllic beaches and love of cricket, won independence from Britain in 1966.

In October, it elected Mason its first president, one year after Mottley declared the country would “fully” leave behind its colonial past.

Some Barbadians argue there are more pressing national issues than replacing the queen, including economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that has exposed overreliance on tourism — which, ironically, is dependent on British visitors.

Unemployment is at nearly 16 percent, up from nine percent in recent years.

“I know it is something that we were going towards for a very long time, but I think it came at a time which is not necessarily the best time considering our economic situation and the Covid situation,” said 27-year-old office manager Nikita Stuart.

For young activists such as Firhaana Bulbulia, founder of the Barbados Muslim Association, British colonialism and slavery lie behind the island’s modern inequalities.

“The wealth gap, the ability to own land, and even access to loans from banks all have a lot to do with structures built out of being ruled by Britain,” Bulbulia, 26, said.

For many Barbadians, replacing the queen is just catching up with how the nation has felt for many years.

“I remember in the old days we would be really excited about the queen and Prince Charles and Princess Diana and royal weddings,” Anastasia Smith, a 61-year-old nurse, told AFP.

“But I don’t know if we ever quite saw them as our royal family. Now, everybody is talking about a republic. I’m not sure that anything about my life is going to change. But I think we’re doing the right thing and it’s a proud moment for Barbados.”

Buoyed by Black Lives Matter movements across the world, local activists last year successfully advocated for the removal of a statue of the British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson that stood in National Heroes Square for two centuries.

And the end of the queen’s reign is seen by some as a necessary step towards financial reparations to address the historic consequences of the use of slaves brought from Africa to work on sugar plantations.

Charles’ visit to Barbados was clouded at the last minute by another race row over alleged comments about his grandson.

His youngest son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan — who has a black mother and a white father — have said an unnamed royal asked how dark their unborn first child’s skin would be.

A new book reportedly claimed Charles was responsible, which his spokesman dismissed as “fiction and not worth further comment.”

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How Sammy Okposo Impregnated Me And Wanted Me To Abort My Child, African Doll Opens Up On Secret Affairs With Nigerian Gospel Singer

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An American lady, based in Texas, identified as African Doll, has accused Nigerian gospel music minister, Sammie Okposo, of impregnating and abandoning her.

The lady in question made the accusation in a discussion with a YouTuber, Obodo Naija TV.

She disclosed that she met Sammie in Texas when he was on a tour of the US and he invited her to his hotel where she spent the night and messed around with him.

Alongside screenshots of a conversation with the gospel artiste, Doll claimed she had a relationship for months and spent time together until she found out she was pregnant in January.



She disclosed that Sammie told her to abort the baby when she informed him of the pregnancy.

“Sammie okposo got me pregnant and does not want to take responsibility and blocked me on all social media platforms.

“We met at a concert in one church close to my home and we started following each other on Instagram. He asked for my number from Instagram and we started conversing regularly.

“He invited me to his show in Houston Texas in November 2021, he invited me to his hotel and we hung out. I spent the night with him until the next morning.

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Insecurity: IPOB Fires Back At Army, Says ESN Not Militants

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The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, on Tuesday, accused the Nigerian security forces of lying against its members.

IPOB said contrary to claims by security agencies, that Eastern Security Network, ESN, is not a militant group and are not cannibals.

A statement by IPOB’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, reiterated that the group has no camps in Lilu, Orsumoghu in Anambra State and Mbaise, Obowo in Imo State.

Powerful in a statement said, “The global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi KANU wish to once again, debunk the falsehood and propaganda by the Nigeria army and police against innocent Biafran youths especially Eastern Security Network ESN operatives.

“The Nigeria Army Commander, as well as the Police Commissioner in Imo State, derive pleasure in dishing out fake information and falsehood to disrepute IPOB and ESN operatives.

“We, therefore, want to once again, declare that contrary to fabricated lies by the security agencies, ESN has no camp in Lilu, Orsumoghu in Anambra State and Mbaise, Obowo in Imo State. The claims by the Nigerian security agencies that they discovered IPOB/ESN camps in the affected communities are all lies concocted to blackmail us and justify further destruction of more Igbo communities by security agents.

“IPOB and ESN have no camps in these communities. We are not militants nor cannibals. Criminals can never be said to be IPOB/ESN members. We are not cultists. Our mission is the restoration of Biafra, and that has nothing to do with cannibalism and abominable things allegedly going on in such camps.

“Nigerian security agencies and government of Imo State created these criminals thinking they can demonize IPOB and ESN members but unfortunately they turned against innocent members of the society.”

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AFCON 2021: Ola Aina, Okoye Responsible For Super Eagles Loss To Tunisia, Says Okocha

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Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, has blamed two players for the elimination of Nigeria from the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Cameroon by Tunisia.

Okocha said Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye and right-back, Ola Aina, should be held responsible for Tunisia’s match-winning goal against Augustine Eguavoen’s men.

Recall that Tunisia had last Sunday sent the Super Eagles packing from the AFCON in the Round of 16, thanks to Youssef Msakni’s second-half goal.

But Okocha believes Okoye should have saved Msakni’s long-range shot, while Aina would have fouled the Tunisia player before he took the shot.

“You expect when things go the wrong way that the goalkeeper might save the day but I thought he went a bit early to his right side and then it was difficult for him to adjust and make that save,” Okocha told SuperSport.

“It was a well taken shot there by the Tunisian and luckily for them that decided the game.”

On Aina, Okocha added: “You buy a foul, do something, stop the momentum of the game and let your players recover, but he made it easier for them.”

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