ABUJA — Nigeria has made some significant progress in its war against Boko Haram insurgents as it moved to sixth in the latest Global Terrorism Index (GTI).
Nigeria dropped two places from fourth in the Index, a position the West African country has occupied since 2017.
The GTI, published by an independent and non-profit think tank, the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) indicated that Nigeria, Syria, and Somalia are the only nations, among the 10 most affected by terrorism, to get an improved score from 2020 to 2021.
According to the report, there was a decline in the number of terrorism-related deaths in Nigeria. It attributed this to the death of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, and the Federal Government’s efforts at defeating the group.
“Total deaths from terrorism in Nigeria fell to 448 in 2021, the lowest level since 2011. Terror-related casualties dropped by almost half compared with the previous year. However, the number of terrorist attacks increased by 49 per cent between 2020 and 2021. 36 percent of attacks were claimed by ISWA, Boko Haram being responsible for eight per cent and 44 percent not attributed to any group.
“In 2020, ISWA became the deadliest terrorist group in Nigeria. The decline of Boko Haram continued into 2021, with Boko Haram responsible for only 69 deaths, a decrease of 77 percent from the previous year. This is the lowest number of deaths by the group for a decade. Boko Haram’s decline has resulted in a substantial improvement in terrorism in Borno State, which experienced a decrease of 71 percent in terrorism deaths when compared with the prior year,” the report said, which was published on Wednesday, read.
“Attacks in the state also decreased from 121 to 86 respectively, a decrease of 30 percent. The state, however, remains the hardest-hit region in Nigeria for terrorism, accounting for half of all terror-related deaths in 2021. Boko Haram’s decline coincides with a number of factors, most significantly the death of the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau. Shekau, who committed suicide by detonating an explosives vest during a confrontation with ISWA in May 2021.
“Given the demise of their leader, Shekau’s followers were faced with the decision to either continue Shekau’s ideology or join ISWA. It has been reported that as many as former Boko Haram commanders have joined ISWA after Shekau’s death. Attacks by ISWA as well as counter-terrorism efforts by the Nigerian government and foreign military forces have significantly weakened Boko Haram’s impact in Nigeria.”