Terrorism in Nigeria

Nigeria’s sudden increase in terrorist activity is largely due to the rise of Boko Haram, which means ‘Western Education is Forbidden’. This organisation has quickly become one of the most deadly terrorist groups in the world, averaging close to eight deaths per attack. Most terrorist attacks occur in the northeast of the country, where Boko Haram is based.

Nigeria ranks 4th of 162 countries on the 2014 Global Terrorism Index. The nature of terrorism in Nigeria is dramatically different from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, which rank first, second and third respectively. The tactics used by Nigerian terrorist groups are more closely related to gang crime and violence than bombings or suicide attacks. Armed assault caused 85% of Nigeria’s terrorism deaths in 2013, as opposed to just 5% for bombings and explosions.

Kidnappings are another common tactic. In 2013, Boko Haram kidnapped police officers, members of the military as well as women and children. The kidnapping of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls in early 2014 gained international media attention. The group recently announced the girls would become slaves and wives for the organisation.

Apart from Boko Haram, six other terrorist groups were responsible for attacks in 2013. Three of these groups are Islamist and the other groups are separatists or oppositional groups.

To find out more, including a case study on Boko Haram, download the Global Terrorism Index Report and explore the interactive Global Terrorism Index map


Related Articles


Thousands of people across the world have taken to social media to pledge solidarity to find the 200 schoolgirls abducted last month in Nigeria

Global Terrorism Index Methodology

The Global Terrorism Index systematically ranks 162 countries according to the impact of terrorism.

Global Terrorism Index Report

17,958 people were killed in terrorist attacks last year, that’s 61% more than the previous year. Get the facts on terrorism with the 2014 Global Terrorism Index Report.

Terrorism Index video

Terrorism is one of the most widely covered topics in news media today, but what do we actually know about terrorism? Spare a few minutes and get the facts.

Contact us

Vision of Humanity is an initiative of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). IEP have offices in New York and Sydney. For more specific inquiries related to the peace indexes and research, please contact IEP directly.

Media: media@economicsandpeace.org
Education: educators@economicsandpeace.org
Data request: info@economicsandpeace.org

Sydney office

PO Box 42, St Leonards,
NSW 1590,
Tel: +61 2 9901 8500

New York office

3 East 54th Street
14th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Tel: +1 (646) 963-2160

Job opportunities and internships are listed on the Institute for Economics and Peace website. See them.

Contact us