In spite of deaths from terrorism declining by 16 per cent in 2017, Nigeria is still listed as one of the five countries most impacted by terrorism in the 2018 Global Terrorism Index.
The country remains in the third position, which it occupied in the 2017 index.
The number of deaths attributed to terrorism in the country fell to 1,532 in 2017 from 1832 in 2016. The decline follows the 63 per cent drop in deaths in Nigeria in the preceding year and a 34 per cent drop in 2015.
Other countries listed in the top five bracket were Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.
The Global Terrorism Index, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD).
The index showed deaths from terrorism also declined worldwide by 27 per cent (18,814) between 2016 and 2017, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria.
“The year on year fall in deaths was mirrored by a fall in the number of attacks, which fell 23 per cent from 2016 to 2017,” IEP said in the summary of the 2018 index.
The report showed that only 10 countries accounted for 84 per cent of deaths from terrorism, with the financial cost of terror activities put at $52 billion. The report, however, notes that the actual cost “is likely to be much higher.”
Al-Shabaab committed the deadliest attack of 2017, which killed 587 people. In Egypt, the Islamic State Sinai Province carried out the second deadliest attack, which killed 311 people.
Concerning Nigeria, the report notes that resurgence of the pastoral conflict in Nigeria over the past year, with Fulani extremists carrying out a number of high-profile attacks in the past six months, have impacted the Nigerian government’s fight against terrorism.
According to the report, ‘Boko Haram and Fulani extremists’ accounted for the largest percentage of the deaths. The Bachama extremist group was listed as the third most violent group.
The Fulani extremists were responsible for 321 deaths, a 60 per cent drop in the number of deaths from the preceding year.
Although attacks attributed to Boko Haram increased by 62 per cent, deaths caused by the terror group, however, declined by 34 per cent to 10,022.
The Bachama extremists, according to GTI, were responsible for 30 deaths resulting from four attacks.
The report noted that the appreciable improvement in Nigeria’s fight against terrorism belies the government’s struggles with long-term plans to rein in terrorism.
“Alongside its counterinsurgency plan, the Nigerian government also struggles with negotiations and reintegration efforts regarding its long-term strategy to deal with Boko Haram and its associates.”
The Nigerian government’s successes in the fight against terrorism notwithstanding, GTI insisted Boko Haram still remained a potentially lethal force and that Borno State was the epicentre of its attacks in 2017.
“Of the 10 deadliest attacks Boko Haram committed in 2017, all were in Nigeria and nine were in the Borno State,” GTI said.
“The group’s deadliest attack was an armed assault against a Frontier Exploration Services convoy that killed 69 people, most of whom were civilians.