Buhari, Truss, other world leaders mourn

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*As Queen Elizabeth 11 dies at 96

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and other World leaders have expressed sadness over the death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Thursday, President Buhari hailed the departed Queen, while expressing his condolences, as well as those of his family and the more than 200 million Nigerians.

President Buhari said: “My family and I, and the more than 200 million Nigerians have learned with immense sadness of the passing of the Queen and the end of her unique and wonderful 70 year reign. Her late Majesty was the only British Sovereign known to 90 percent of our population.

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“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom and the entire Commonwealth as we join the entire world in mourning her loss.

“The story of modern Nigeria will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth ll, a towering global personality and an outstanding leader. She dedicated her life to making her nation, the Commonwealth and the entire world a better place.

Addressing the incoming monarch, Prince Charles, the statement said: “the President welcomes Your Majesty’s ascension to the throne in line with tradition and prays King Charles the Third’s reign will witness the continuing robust and sisterly relations between our two nations”.

Similarly, British Prime Minister Liz Truss led the tributes to Queen Elizabeth II on Friday as the United Kingdom — and the world — reacted to her death at the age of 96. 

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of stability in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne.

The palace announced that she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.

Her 73-year-old son Prince Charles automatically became king and will be known as King Charles III, it was announced. British monarchs in the past have selected new names upon taking the throne. Charles’ second wife, Camilla, will be known as the Queen Consort.

Liz Truss, who took office Tuesday after succeeding Boris Johnson, remembered the queen as “the rock on which our country was built.”

The departed elegant British monarch

In a speech outside No. 10 Downing St., she said that everyone was “devastated” after a “huge shock to the nation and the world.”

“Britain is the great country it is today because of her,” she added. “Her devotion to duty is an example to us all.”

She said Britain would offer King Charles III “our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much to us for so long.”

Her predecessor called the queen’s passing “our country’s saddest day.”

“In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss — far more intense, perhaps, than we expected,” Johnson said in a statement. “She seemed so timeless and so wonderful that I am afraid we had come to believe, like children, that she would just go on and on,” he added.

Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, also paid his respects. In a statement, he said the U.K. was mourning “the passing of a remarkable sovereign.” As Britain changed rapidly, he said, the queen’s “dedication became the still point of our turning world.”

England’s top religious authority, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said his prayers were “with the king and the royal family,” while Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called Elizabeth’s death “a profoundly sad moment.”

President Joe Biden was quick to pay tribute to the monarch, saying in a statement that she was “a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”

His predecessor, Donald Trump, also paid his respects, saying in a statement that her “remarkable reign left a tremendous legacy of peace and prosperity for Great Britain.”

 “Melania and I will always cherish our time together with the Queen, and never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor,” he added.

Former President Barack Obama said the relationship he and his wife, Michelle, formed with the queen “meant a great deal to us.”

“Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and how she brought her considerable humor and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance,” he said in a statement.

In Canada, a member country of the Commonwealth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that “it was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning Sovereign.”

“She was a constant presence in our lives — and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history,” he added.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was “deeply saddened,” by the queen’s passing, tweeting that she “exemplified selfless leadership and public service.”

European leaders including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid tribute, tweeting that her death was an “irreparable loss.”

French President Emmanuel Macron offered his condolences. Alongside a portrait of Elizabeth, he tweeted that she was “a friend of France,” while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took to social media to say that her “commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared fond memories of the monarch, tweeting that he would “never forget her warmth and kindness.”

“During one of the meetings she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding,” he wrote, referring to the Indian independence leader. “I will always cherish that gesture.”

Source: NBC news and agency reports

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