Daily Watch – ECOWAS activates standby force against Niger, Nigeria crude output drops to 1.29 million barrels

11th August 2023

21 people were confirmed killed in two communities, Batin and Rayogot in the Heipang district, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, after gunmen attacked. While 17 people including a family were killed in Batin, four were killed in Rayogot, and seven others sustained different degrees of injuries. This attack is coming three days after a commuter, who was returning from Kara, a cattle market in Bukuru, was attacked and killed in the Heipang area. The spokesperson of Operation Safe Haven, a multi-security taskforce in the state, Ola James, said troops of the operation have been deployed to the community to restore law and order. James stated that the attack was suspected to be a reprisal attack.

Nigeria’s crude oil output dropped to 1.29 million barrels per day (bpd) in July, according to the latest report by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC). Analysis shows that production fell 12.56 percent from 1.48 million bpd in June 2023, and by 1.52 percent from 1.31 million bpd on a year-on-year basis. On average, crude oil production for the month was 1.08 million barrels per day, while blended and unblended condensate were 38,258 and 174,509 barrels per day respectively. A significant cause of the decline was the temporary shutting of the Forcados terminal last month. Also, Nigeria attracted inflows of $1.41 billion into its currency market in June, the central bank said on 10 August, after it scrapped a multiple exchange rate system that used to keep the naira artificially strong.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) jumped to the Bank of Ghana (BoG)’s defence insisting the regulator’s current financial position will not affect monetary policy operations. This was captured in an update issued by the IMF on Ghana’s programme with the Fund. The IMF noted that despite the Bank’s challenging financial position, this will not prevent the central bank from fulfilling its policy mandate and ensuring that the inflation rate gradually returns towards its eight percent target. The IMF adds that the Central Bank’s income is even expected to be sufficient to cover Monetary Policy operational costs. It also disclosed that the BoG’s net equity is expected to improve significantly over time and eventually return to positive territory.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ordered the activation of a standby force for possible use against the junta that took power in Niger, saying it wanted a peaceful restoration of democracy, but all options including force were on the table. An official statement was read out which included a resolution asking the bloc’s defence chiefs to “activate the ECOWAS Standby Force with all its elements immediately.” Another resolution spoke of ordering “the deployment of the ECOWAS Standby Force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger,” immediately followed by another that spoke of restoring such order “through peaceful means.” Last month, ECOWAS Commission President Omar Alieu Touray told the United Nations Security Council that they were considering two options: a brigade of 5,000 troops at an annual cost of $2.3 billion or the deployment of troops on demand at an annual cost of $360 million.