According to the 2022 Global Terrorism Index or GTI report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Nigeria has made significant gains in its fight against terrorism.
The report said with a new score of 8.233, representing a 51% fall in terrorism-related deaths in 2021 compared to the previous year, the score is the lowest Nigeria has recorded since 2011.
"Nigeria's improved situation earned [it] a move from fourth (4th) to sixth (6th) position in the GTI, and remarkably led to a fall in terrorism-related deaths, only behind Mozambique," it stated.
"This decline was due to a fall in deaths attributed to Boko Haram and [the] Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWA), particularly in the Borno region where deaths fell by 71 per cent."
The stated factors made Nigeria, alongside Syria and Somalia, the only countries among the 10 most impacted by terrorism to record an improvement in score from 2020 to 2021, as situations in the other seven countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Myanmar, and Pakistan) deteriorated.
In collaboration with those of neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, Nigerian troops have been able to significantly curtail the activities of Boko Haram in the last two years. Their effort has likely culminated in the gains recorded in GTI's report.
However, on a regional level, the report said there were "serious deteriorations" in many Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, especially in the Sahel. It said 48% or 3,461 of all terrorism deaths in 2021 occurred in SSA, with four of the ten (global) countries with the largest increases in fatalities from terrorism residing in SSA: Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and Niger (three of them in the Sahel).
Recall again that the three Sahel countries - Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso - are among the 10 countries most impacted by terrorism in 2021, each recording some increase in terrorism-related deaths: Niger 81, Mali 174, and Burkina Faso 74.
The GTI report provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism.
On the global stage, it said there was a reduction in the impact of terrorism, with 86 countries recording an improvement, compared to 19 that deteriorated. This resulted in a 1.2% fall in terrorism-related deaths to 7,142, a third of what they were at their 2015 peak.
"Myanmar had the largest increase in terrorism, where deaths increased from 24 to 521. This was followed by Niger, where terrorism deaths increased from 257 in 2020 to 588 in 2021," it said. But "Afghanistan remains the country with the highest impact from terrorism for the third year followed by Iraq and Somalia. Deaths increased by 14 per cent to 1,426."
The report, however, indicated that despite the overall year-on-year fall in deaths, the number of attacks rose from 4,458 in 2020 to 5,226 in 2021. That amounts to a 17% increase - the highest number of attacks since 2007 - largely due to violence in the Sahel region and instability in countries like Afghanistan and Myanmar.
It said that while civilian deaths dropped 62% from 2020, law enforcement, including police and prison officers, overtook both military and civilians as the most targeted group in 2021.
In Nigeria, it said general attacks against police and prisons increased substantially from one recorded attack in 2020 to 75 in 2021, accounting for over a third of all attacks in Nigeria in 2021.
"This was largely driven by an increase in clashes between law enforcement and separatist groups, such as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Military deaths mirrored this trend, with 2021 recording almost half the number of terrorism deaths from the prior year," the report noted.
Read the full report here.