Institute for Economic and Peace, a global think-tank, has ranked Nigeria as the seventh country most affected by terrorism in 2011.
The organisation’s first Global Terrorism Index meant to measure the impact of terrorism and the associated economic and social dimensions, was published last Tuesday.
The index showed Nigeria ranking marginally better than Somalia (the only other sub-Saharan African country in the top 10).
Somalia has suffered decades of terror under various Islamic extremist groups.
Nigeria scored 7.242 while Somalia ranked sixth with 7.244 points.
The other countries in the top 10 are Iraq (9.56), Pakistan (9.05), Afghanistan (8.67), India (8.15), Yemen (7.30), Thailand (7.09), Russia (7.07), Philippines (6.80).
The index rating was reached by aggregating the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries and property damage.
According to the report, the number of fatalities in terrorism attacks in 2010 increased by almost 300 per cent in 2011.
The group said, “The number of fatalities in Nigeria has steadily increased over the last decade, and has seen a dramatic increase in 2011 with 165 lives lost as opposed to 57 in 2010.”
The study defined terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.”
It identified the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and Boko Haram as the architects of terrorism in the country.
The report added, “The most active group in that period [2002-2011] was the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. In recent years, Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group has operated in the north/north east of the country where it has carried out a wave of attacks against local Christians, churches and schools.”
“Boko Haram’s main enemy is the government, as they hope to implement Sharia law, as opposed to ‘man-made laws’. This can be observed in its choice of targets which comprise religious institutions, government buildings, the police and businesses in an attempt to precipitate a war.”
The report also ranked the July 27, 2009 attack that resulted in the death of the founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, and at least 305 others as the sixth worst terrorist attack between 2002 and 2011.
The report also placed Nigeria third from bottom (105 out of 108 countries) in its Positive Peace Index.
The report said, “Nigeria’s poor performance is especially noticeable in the areas of Equitable Distribution of Resources, Acceptance of the Rights of Others and Low Levels of Corruption.”
It also classified Nigeria government as an authoritarian regime using the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index.
The EIUDI groups countries into five categories based on electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, political participation and political culture among others.