Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader
Only Somalia is ranked worse than Nigeria in Africa.
Despite rigorous attempts by the government to play down the impact of terrorism, a global think thank, Institute for Economic and Peace, has ranked Nigeria as the seventh country most affected by terrorism in 2011.
The country received this scary rating in the organisation’s first Global Terrorism Index (GTI) meant to measure the impact of terrorism and the associated economic and social dimensions, published last Tuesday.
The index shows that Nigeria ranks marginally better than Somalia (the only other sub-Saharan African country in the top ten), which until recently, has no functional government and has suffered decades of terror under various Islamic extremist groups.
Nigeria has a score of 7.242 while Somalia is ranked sixth with a score of 7.244.
The other countries in the top ten 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 is reached by aggregating a series of indicators such as 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 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,” it stated.
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 (MEND) and Boko Haram as the main architects of terrorism in the country.
“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,” the report stated.
“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 include religious institutions, government buildings, the police and businesses in an attempt to precipitate a war,” it added.
The report also ranked the July 27, 2009 attack that lead to the death of Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram, and at least 305 other fatalities as the sixth most deadly terrorist attack between 2002 and 2011.
In a blatant lack of trust in the government efforts at resolving the issues leading to terrorism, the report places Nigeria third from bottom (105 out of 108 countries) in its Positive Peace Index.
The report says 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.”
A huge discredit of governance as it is currently constituted in the country is the classification of the Nigeria government as an authoritarian regime by the report.
Using the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index, the GTI classified Nigeria as an authoritarian regime.
The Democracy Index groups countries into five categories based on Electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation and political culture, and scores them between zero and ten.
Authoritarian Regime is the lowest cadre possible in the Democracy Index with a score of zero to 3.9.