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Terrorism in Nigeria - statistics & facts

Nigeria has one of the highest terrorism threat levels in the world. Despite a general decrease in terror-related deaths, the country recently recorded the second highest number of people who died in terrorist attacks worldwide, after Afghanistan. Several militant groups are active in Nigeria, leading to attacks on both civilian and military targets. Boko Haram is by far the deadliest, mostly active in the north of the country. Certain deaths have also been attributed to Fulani extremists, while further violent outcomes have been characterizing conflicts among other herdsmen, farmers and ethnic groups.

The number of Boko Haram attacks has increased recently. It is a jihadist fundamentalist group, aiming to free the country from Western education and to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. However, Boko Haram is responsible for thousands of deaths not only in Nigeria but also in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Within Nigeria, the Northern state of Borno, where the group is mostly concentrated, is the region most affected by Boko Haram's brutality. Among attacks reported on in the media, the 2014 kidnapping of 276 female students from a secondary school in Chibok, located in Borno, received global attention. In 2016, Boko Haram split into two groups. Both groups see themselves as affiliates of ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

In 2019, Fulani extremists were responsible for about one quarter of all terror-ralated deaths nationwide. Fulani extremists do not constitute a single terrorist group. In fact, several deaths have been attributed to terrorist attacks used as a tactic in ongoing conflicts between pastoralists and the nomadic Fulani. Jihadist Fulani herdsmen have also been killing thousand of Christians in recent years. In total, over 10 thousand Christians were murdered in Nigeria by Boko Haram, Jihadist Fulani herdsmen, and bandits or highway kidnappers in Nigeria. Political, economic and social instability is also resulting in severe confrontations between terrorist groups and the State. From 2011 to 2021, such conflicts with Boko Haram caused over 20 thousand deaths.

One factor to take into consideration is the massive economic cost of terrorism. In Nigeria, it makes up 2.4 percent of the country's GDP, only one percentage point less than government expenditure on health. In Africa, it is the largest economic impact registered in one single country, resulting in an expense of 142 billion U.S. dollars reached between 2007 and 2019. Recently, some militant groups emerged in the Niger Delta region, with the declared aim to address social and political injustice. Various kidnappings and attacks were carried out by these groups, mostly against oil facilities and workers in the region, leading to a loss in oil prices. This area is extremely poor, despite oil resources, as the wealth generated by production barely reaches the Nigerian population. Eventually, in January 2021 a court has ordered the oil company Shell to compensate Nigerian farmers for oil spills in their land in the Niger Delta region.

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Terrorism in Nigeria

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