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Boris Johnson faces fresh scandal over lockdown party breach

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was embroiled Tuesday in another scandal over his government’s alleged lockdown breaches as police said they were investigating a Downing Street gathering attended by dozens of top officials.

In the latest in a string of such allegations, Johnson and others allegedly held a drinks gathering in the garden of his official residence in May 2020 when any in-person socialising was outlawed.

An email leaked late Monday indicated that Martin Reynolds, a senior civil servant, invited more than 100 Downing Street colleagues to “bring your own booze” to the event, which Johnson and his wife Carrie allegedly attended.

The potentially highly damaging revelations follow a series of similar accusations which emerged last month about Downing Street parties held during later lockdowns in the run-up to Christmas in 2020.

They prompted Johnson to appoint another senior civil servant, Sue Gray, to investigate the allegations, and she is now expected to expand her probe to cover the new claims.

Meanwhile, in a statement released late Monday, London police said they were also making enquiries over potential breaches of the lockdown laws in relation to the May gathering.

“The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of widespread reporting relating to alleged breaches of the Health Protection Regulations at Downing Street on May 20 2020 and is in contact with the Cabinet Office,” the force said.

– ‘Partygate farce’ –
Johnson has previously denied knowledge that any rules were broken in Downing Street during the pandemic, as he faced weeks of excoriating headlines over the previous allegations before Christmas.

But the latest accusations appear to directly contradict those claims.

In the May 2020 email sent by Reynolds, he wrote: “After what has been an incredibly busy period it would be nice to make the most of the lovely weather and have some socially distanced drinks in the No10 garden this evening.”

Britain at the time was in the throes of its first lockdown, and outdoor social gatherings of any kind were banned.

ITV News, which obtained the email, said around 40 staff ended up gathering in the garden that evening, eating picnic food and drinking.

BBC News, which followed up, said it had contemporaneous emails from some Downing Staff that questioned the wisdom of the invitation.

“It’s right that Sue Gray is looking into this matter independently,” Health minister Ed Argar told Sky News on Tuesday during a round of broadcast interviews.

“I’m not going to make comments that would prejudge or get in the way of that.”

Johnson had hoped to start the new year with a reset of his embattled government, leaving behind the so-called “partygate” scandals that ratcheted up the pressure on his position, after a series of other claims of sleaze.

But many of Tuesday’s newspapers, including those which normally back Johnson and his Conservative party, again splashed the latest revelations over their front pages.

“Enough Boris! You must end ‘partygate’ farce now” implored the typically supportive Daily Express.

AFP

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Oyetola urges Osun voters to safeguard PVC ahead of guber election

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Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun has urged the electorate in the state to safeguard their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) ahead of the July 16 gubernatorial election in the state.

The governor made the remarks  on Thursday during what was described as a “strategic tour” of Ila Federal Constituency Area of the state.

Oyetola also urged members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to keep their membership registration slips safe ahead of the party’s primary.

He appealed to them not to allow any individual to deceive them  with ”fake loan” to steal still their PVCs from them.

“I implore you to keep the party’s registration slip issued during the accreditation exercise and your voter’s card safe.

“With the look of things, it seems that the party will opt for direct primary, if it is so, the membership slip will be used for the exercise.

“Some people want to collect your PVC and membership slip with the pretence to give you a loan.

“They are all liars, the loan that they did not give you two years ago, they are lying to give you months to the election.

“They are promising you food now, they are liars. We started our food support programme last year April and we did not stop it.

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“We are not doing this because we want to get votes from you, but it is because of our genuine love for the people.

“Let us be prepared for the primary election of our party and the gubernatorial election,” he said.

In his remarks, the Orangun of Ila, Oba Abdul Oyedotun, said the achievements of the governor in the development of the state were enough testimonies for him to be reelected.

Oyedotun, who noted that the governor would triumph in the election, said the electorate were behind him.

“Your achievements speak for themselves and we are proud of what you have done.

“Your second term ambition will be successful and whoever tries to stand on your way, will not witness your success story.

“ Don’t despair, our ancestors were faced with travails and they emerged triumphant, you shall overcome yours too.

“Your detractors will witness your success and you will triumph over them,” the Oba said. (NAN)

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FG begins inspection of grant, Expatriate Quota renewal facilities, others

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“This is pursuant to the Second Schedule of the Marriage Act, Cap 6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and the approved Legal Notices vide Federal Government Official Gazette Nos. 55, 56, 59, 60, 61 & 62, Volume 108 of 2021,” it added.

The notice also  states that these inspection exercises and services attracts payment of fees that are mandatory for organisations and public places of worship who do apply for such services.

“For more information on the payment process public places of  worship and companies are directed to log on to the Ministry’s website on www.ecitiz.interior.gov.ng for payment.

“For further enquiries: Please call the ministry’s e-citibiz contact centre on 07000099999(operating hours are Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm.

“The call Centre can also be contacted during weekdays and weekends via: [email protected],ng.”

NAN reports that Expatriate Quota is granted for an initial period of three years.

It can however be renewed for further periods of two years each subject to a cap of 10 years within which time the relevant skills comprised in the position ought to have been transferred to qualified Nigerian Understudies.(NAN)

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6th Anniversary: Commissioner eulogises Yahaya Bello’s giant strides in education

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Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Wemi Jones, has eulogised Gov. Yahaya Bello on his giant strides in education sector as he celebrates his 6th year anniversary.

The commissioner in a statement on Thursday, in Lokoja commended the governor for increasing budgetary allocation to education to 30 per cent, which is above UNESCO global recommended benchmark.

‘He  congratulated him on the auspicious occasion of the second year into his second tenure in office.

”It is no gainsaying that you have excelled above every expectation in educational development and the following areas remain indelible among your quantum leaps:

”Increased budgetary allocation for education to 30 per cent which is above UNESCO global recommended benchmark.

”The establishment of specialized Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara; construction, renovation, and remodelling of GYB Model Science Colleges in all the 21 local government areas of Kogi,” he said.

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According to him, the signing of Kogi State Education Law 2020, development of the State Education Strategic Plan (SESP) 2021-2030 and Science Education Operational Plan (SEOP) 2021- 2023; and others too numerous to mention.

”Sir, you remain the unbeatable and best education-friendly governor of our times.

”I congratulate you on your ever impactful New Direction Administration as we look forward to more fruitful years of higher uplifting from GYB to PYB,” he said.

NAN reports that Yahaya Bello was sworn in as the 5th Executive Governor of Kogi State for second tenure in office on Jan. 27, 2020. (NAN)

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