BY Kunle Daramola
Nigeria has been ranked eighth – with only 385 deaths recorded – in the 2023 global terrorism index (GTI).
The ranking comes as progress after the country moved two places away from the sixth position it occupied in the 2022 ratings.
The GTI report which is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), said though Sub-Saharan Africa recorded the largest increase in terrorism deaths, the “impact of terrorism continues to decline in Nigeria”.
It put the number of deaths that happened as a result of terrorism in Nigeria in 2022 at 385 – a fall of 23 percent from the previous year, which was 497.
The report showed that though Nigeria is part of the 10 countries that accounted for 85 percent of all terrorism deaths in 2022, spatial dynamics of the attacks were shifting from northeastern Nigeria to Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
Meanwhile, out of the 20 most fatal terrorist attacks in 2022, Nigeria accounted for three, while Burkina Faso had four and Mali led with five.
GTI showed that all three attacks took place in Borno and two were carried out by Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), while local media fingered Boko Haram for one.
“The impact of terrorism continues to decline in Nigeria; with total deaths falling by 23 percent, decreasing from 497 in 2021 to 385 in 2022. The number of terrorist attacks in Nigeria also fell considerably, with 120 incidents recorded in 2022 compared to 214 in 2021. This is the lowest number of terror attacks and deaths since 2011,” the report reads.
“Boko Haram’s decline has resulted in a substantial improvement in terrorism in Borno State, which experienced a decrease of 12 percent in terrorism-related deaths when compared with the year prior.
“Attacks in the state also decreased from 91 to 48 respectively, a decrease of 47 percent. ISWAP is now the most prominent group in Borno State, recording 40 incidents that resulted in 168 deaths in 2022, compared to Boko Haram’s six incidents and 63 deaths.
“The state, however, remains the hardest-hit region in Nigeria for terrorism, accounting for 60 percent of all terror-related deaths in 2022. The deadliest terror attack of the year occurred in Borno state when gunmen killed 50 civilians who were accused of informing on the terrorists’ movements to security forces. ISWAP claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had targeted ‘spies’.”
The GTI showed that the military has overtaken law enforcement as the most targeted group in 2022 as opposed to what was obtainable in 2021.
“Despite this, half of all terrorism deaths in Nigeria in 2022 were civilians. Civilian deaths increased 78 percent from 2021 to 196 deaths; while military deaths dropped considerably, falling 74 percent from 2021 to 58 deaths in 2022,” the report reads.