Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
After over 47 years of its membership in the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) has finally quit the union consisting of 27 member states.
The departure is coming after over three years that the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to resign its membership of the EU.
The flags outside UK diplomatic missions have been lowered, even as the countdown clocks have stopped.
Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, Britain has entered a transition period which will subsist until the end of 2020.
Prior to the development, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a message on social media, said he would gather the country and take the United Kingdom forward.
Johnson was reported to have marked the exit from EU by the UK with his team at his Downing Street office, celebrating with English sparkling wine and an array of British culinary treats.
“For many people, this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come.
“And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss.
“And then of course, there is a third group – perhaps the biggest – who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end.
“I understand all those feelings and our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together now and take us forward,” the British Prime Minister said.
The departure, which took place at 23:00 pm Friday, witnessed both jubilations and protests from those in support and against the decision.
“Candlelit vigils were held in Scotland, which voted to stay in the EU, while Brexiteers partied in London’s Parliament Square,” the BBC reported.
But Johnson further said: “For all its strengths and for all its admirable qualities, the EU has evolved over 50 years in a direction that no longer suits this country.”
He added that “the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end, but a beginning,” even as he said it was “a moment of real national renewal and change.”