Protesters gather outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/AFP
Donald Trump’s supporters on Wednesday stormed a session of Congress held to certify Joe Biden’s win, as a desperate last-minute bid by the president to overturn his election loss sparked chaos and accusations of a “coup” attempt.
Hours after an extraordinary rally by Trump challenging his defeat, his flag-waving backers broke down barricades outside the Capitol and swarmed inside, with the special session going into an emergency recess as protesters entered the chambers.
The chaos at the Capitol, which was put under lockdown, came one day after Biden enjoyed a new triumph as his Democratic Party looked set to win two Senate runoff seats, handing full control of Congress.
Police fired tear gas as they struggled to remove a sea of protesters who took aim, at Trump’s urging, at what for more than two centuries had been a quiet, ceremonial session to confirm the election’s winner.
“The President of the United States is inciting a coup. We will not be intimidated. We will not be deterred,” tweeted Democratic Representative Karen Bass.
Representative Val Demings likewise denounced the storming of the Capitol as evidence of “a coup in progress” — in words echoed by half a dozen lawmakers.
Representative Elaine Luria said she had to evacuate because of a report of a pipe bomb and said she believed she heard gunshots.
“I don’t recognize our country today and the members of Congress who have supported this anarchy do not deserve to represent their fellow Americans,” she said.
– ‘Damage our republic forever’ –
Biden is certain to become president, with Democrats already controlling the House of Representatives, but more than 140 Republican House members and a dozen Republican senators have sided with Trump in challenging the results even though no evidence of fraud has been proven in court.
Republican Senate leader Senator Mitch McConnell, for four years a staunch backer of Trump, denounced the challenge in an impassioned address, noting that the results of the November 3 vote were not even close.
“The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them, it will damage our republic forever,” said McConnell, who is set to lose his position of majority leader after Democrats’ Senate wins.
“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral,” said McConnell, who also accused Democrats of not accepting Trump’s surprise 2016 victory.
Senator Chuck Schumer voiced alarm moments before protesters entered the Capitol, saying: “An element of the Republican Party believes their political viability hinges on the endorsement of an attempted coup.”
– ‘We will never concede’ –
As scenes of chaos spread, Trump took to Twitter to call on his supporters to be peaceful and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser imposed a 6 pm curfew in the city.
But in his rally near the White House, Trump urged them to head to the Capitol.
Rambling angrily, the president warned “weak” Republicans not to certify Biden’s victory and put direct pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, who ceremonially presided over the session.
“We will never give up. We will never concede,” Trump told the cheering crowd, few wearing masks despite a spike in Covid cases.
“I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do,” Trump said, describing the US election as less honest than those of “Third World countries.”
As Trump was still speaking and Congress opened the session, Pence — dutifully loyal to Trump over four years and quiet since the election — said he would not intervene.
“The Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” Pence said in a statement.
Thousands of Trump supporters had headed to Washington at his urging in recent days, with downtown businesses boarding up in fear of violence.
“I can’t say I respect our election process anymore,” said Gail Shaw, 76, who drove down from New Jersey. “We will take our nation back.”
Biden won more than seven million votes more than Trump in the November 3 election and leads him 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College that determines elections.
Trump has repeatedly alleged without no evidence that there was vote-rigging but his team has not been able to prove a single case in court.
– New mandate for Democrats –
The session of Congress comes one day after voters went to the polls in Georgia and appear to have handed a pair of stunning victories to the Democratic Senate candidates over Republican incumbents.
A Democratic sweep would result in a 50-50 split in the Senate with Democrats holding the tie-breaking vote in Vice President Kamala Harris.
Biden is due to be sworn in on January 20 and control of the Senate would give his Democrats the levers of power in the executive branch and both chambers of Congress and allow him to push through his legislative agenda.
“After the past four years, after the election, and after today’s election certification proceedings on the Hill, it’s time to turn the page,” Biden said in a statement.
“The American people demand action and they want unity. I am more optimistic than I ever have been that we can deliver both,” he said.
In Georgia, Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock, the pastor at the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King once preached, was projected to defeat Republican Kelly Loeffler, a 50-year-old businesswoman appointed to the Senate in December 2019.
Warnock, 51, would be just the third African-American to win a Senate seat from the South.
In the other Georgia race, Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 33-year-old video producer, claimed victory on Wednesday over Republican David Perdue.
FG To Introduce Tollgates On 12 Highways (Full List)
In its bid to ensure the regular maintenance of its road network across Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing plans to concession no fewer than 12 federal highways to private entities to manage.
The arrangement would enable the private companies to introduce toll gates on the 12 highways and collect revenue which they would use and regularly maintain such roads.
This information is contained in a document, which Vanguard obtained, yesterday, from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Abuja.
The 12 highways to be concessioned under the Ministry’s “Highway Management Development Initiative”, HMDI, are: Benin-Asaba, Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Katsina, Onitsha-Owerri, Shagamu-Benin and Abuja-Keffi-Akwanga.
Others are: Kano-Shuari, Potiskum-Damaturu, Lokoja-Benin, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Ilorin-Jebba, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and Lagos-Badagry-Seme Border.
Again, Elon Musk Becomes the Richest Man In the World
Just days after Jeff Bezos was named as the richest man in the world, another businessman has overtaken him to reclaim the position.
Elon Musk became the richest man in the world on Friday.
The Tesla chief’s wealth surged to $200 billion after the rocket company, SpaceX he founded completed another funding round, pushing him atop the Bloomberg Billionaires Index for the second time in 2021.
He moved past, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, who is now worth $194 billion and had some days ago earlier reclaimed the title as the world’s richest person this week after Tesla shares plunged.
Recent reports suggest SpaceX raised another $850 million this month from a group of leading institutional investors led by Sequoia Capital.
Such investment now puts SpaceX’s valuation at $74 billion, a 60% jump from August, and helped boost Musk’s net worth by about $11 billion, according to the index.
November 15, 2016, filing with the Federal Communications Commission revealed the tech billionaire owned 54% of SpaceX.
Although Bloomberg’s analysis assumes he hasn’t sold his shares in subsequent rounds and that his stake has been diluted to about 47% in proportion to the amount raised. The value is reduced by 15% to account for typical discounts that shares in unicorns attract on the secondary market, according to two brokers.
All markets in Lagos has been ordered to be closed
The order was given by the Iyaloja-General, Chief Folashade Tinubu-Ojo as a sign of respect for the former Lagos state Governor, late Alhaji Lateef Jakande.
Chief Tinubu-Ojo told The Nation that the first civilian governor of Lagos state deserved more than that for his giant strides.
She said it was a mark of respect and solidarity in honour of the deceased.
“We are shutting down all markets tomorrow (today) to mourn our father. We all know he was the former governor of Lagos, who dedicated his time to develop the state, and dedicating a day in his honour is a good thing,” she said.
Confirming the directive, Chief Executive Officer of Bolswot Ventures at Oshodi Market, Alhaja Bola Olufowobi, said the Iyaloja-General’s initiative was a welcome idea.
The late Jakande, she said, deserved the honour.
“He was a good man. We are happy with the directive,” she said.
Most street traders around the Idimu axis were not aware, but Madam Beatrice, at Ikotun market, said an announcer went round the market to announce the closure.
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