Daily Watch – Gunmen and Navy showdown in Anambra, Oil spikes on EU Russian import ban

1st June 2022

Oil prices rose on Tuesday after the European Union (EU) countries agreed to ban 90 percent of Russian oil imports by end of 2022. Brent Crude futures, the global oil benchmark, was up by 1.64 percent, trading at $123.7 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed 3.21 percent, at $118.8 a barrel. On Monday, the EU announced its agreement to ban 90 percent of Russian oil imports by the end of the year as part of sanctions against Moscow for invading Ukraine. The agreement resolves a deadlock after Hungary initially held up talks for an immediate ban. But in a tweet on Monday, Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said the move would immediately halt 75 percent of Russian oil imports. “The sanctions will immediately impact 75 percent of Russian oil imports. And by the end of the year, 90 percent of the Russian oil imported in Europe will be banned,” Michel had tweeted. Similarly, at the EU meeting in Brussels on Monday, Ursula von der Leyen, EU’s president, said oil delivered by sea would be banned, while an exemption will be made for oil imports by pipeline. She said the exemption was crucial to “bring landlocked Hungary on board”, a decision that required consensus. According to Eurostat, Russia is the leading supplier of natural gas, oil, and coal to the EU — purchasing 24.4 percent of its energy needs from Russia in 2020. Earlier in the month, the EU had announced that it would stop importing Russian oil in the next six months.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said the Commission will partner with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure that voters are not induced by candidates or political parties during the 18 June Ekiti governorship election. Yakubu said this on Tuesday in Ado-Ekiti during a meeting with traditional rulers in the state ahead of the election. He assured that the commission would not condone vote-buying in the coming election in Ekiti as has been observed in some primaries recently conducted by some political parties. Responding, Oba Ajibade Alabi of Ilawe Ekiti, urged INEC to continue upholding the ideals of a credible election, assuring the chairman that the June 18 governorship election in the state would be peaceful. Alabi appealed to Yakubu to look into the monetisation of the election process in the country today, adding “people don’t need to be money bags before they can rule the country.’’

There was heavy gunfire on Tuesday morning between some Navy officers and gunmen at Amiyi junction, Ochuche Community, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra. The shootout lasted for hours as frightened residents scampered for safety, according to reporting by Premium Times. Many transport operators who set out early to make up for the Monday-sit-at-home order were compelled to return home to avoid being caught by stray bullets.“Gunmen and Navy people are shooting since morning,” resident Amaka Okafor told the online newspaper. Ms Okafor said residents, frightened by the gunshot sound, were forced to remain indoors. State police spokesperson Tochukwu Ikenga confirmed the incident. Mr Ikenga said the naval officers accosted the gunmen while they were obstructing and harassing innocent road users and residents who were going about their businesses in the area. “The operatives stood firm (and) engaged the hoodlums which made them flee from the scene,” he said. The police spokesperson said patrols have been intensified in the area. Anambra has witnessed some of the worst attacks in the region, despite Governor Charles Soludo’s effort to placate members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), including a visit to detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. The attacks often target security agencies, government officials and facilities. During his inauguration, Governor Soludo had called for dialogue with the IPOB and similar groups. He has offered an amnesty programme for the gunmen and declared an end to the sit-at-home order in the state.

Eritrean forces shelled a town in northern Ethiopia over the weekend, according to internal U.N. documents and regional forces, in a rare bombardment after two months of relative peace in the Tigray conflict. Reuters cites bulletins from the United Nations sourcing information from humanitarian organizations in Shiraro as saying at least 23 rounds were fired, some hitting a school housing displaced families. A 14-year-old girl was killed, at least 18 people were injured and 12 houses were damaged, one of the documents said. Late on Monday, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that controls most of Tigray region, accused Eritrean forces of attacking its troops on Saturday and Sunday in Shiraro, about seven miles from the Eritrea-Ethiopia border. Eritrea has supported Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal forces in its war since late 2020 with the TPLF. The TPLF said its forces had killed four Eritrean commanders and more than 300 Eritrean soldiers in the weekend flare-up. Eritrean and Ethiopian troops withdrew from most of Tigray in mid-2021 and the government declared a unilateral ceasefire in March. That allowed aid to enter famine-struck Tigray and brought a lull in fighting in a conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and uprooted millions. However, earlier this year, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told state media his troops would intervene again should Tigrayan forces attack his country or threaten Ethiopia’s stability.