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Fact Check: NO 2020 Global Terrorism Index ranked Nigeria third

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Multiple social media posts claim that Nigeria has been ranked third in the 2020 Global Terrorism Index, produced by a global think tank headquartered in Australia, Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The claim is misleading as it is a misinterpretation of 2019 ranking.

The Global Terrorism Index ranks 163 countries according to the impact of terrorism, based on factors such as the number of attacks, fatalities, injuries, and the extent of property damage.

The misleading claim was first reported on September 10, 2020, by a television news station – Television Continental Nigeria (TVC News Nigeria) TVC programme tagged Journalists Hangout. The programme was also published on Youtube here on September 11, 2020, by TVC with the headline “Nigeria emerges most terrorised country in Africa, ranks worse than Syria, Yemen, Somalia”.

In fact, during the programme, a graphical representation was also shown with the all-caps headline “GLOBAL TERRORISM INDEX 2020.”
While the number of live viewers of the programme can not be gotten, the version uploaded by the station has been viewed over 14,000 times.

The claim has since been circulated online by numerous people. Online news sites hallmarknews and Salonedaily also published the same claim.

Many other social media users, especially on Twitter, have also tweeted the misleading claim. Over 4,500 people have retweeted a similar version of the claim published in this Twitter post, while hundreds of people have retweeted the claim on this post.

Many other Twitter users have tweeted the claim with a photoshopped picture of the President Muhammadu Buhari, his vice Yemi Osinbajo and the secretary to the federal government, Boss Mustapha, holding the TVC graphical representation.

Misleading claim
But the claim is misleading; checks by The Guardian Nigeria shows that the 2020 data has not been released yet.

The IEP on Thursday in a tweet, while reacting to one of the viral false twitter posts, said the data was from “the 2019 Global Terrorism Index.”

“The 2020 Global Terrorism Index has NOT yet been released and is due for launch in November 2020,” it tweeted.

Until now, Nigeria remains the third most impacted country in the world by terrorism – a position it has retained since 2015.

The 2019 GTI shows only Iraq and Afghanistan are ranked worse than Nigeria, which has been dealing with violent insurgency in its northeastern region since 2009.

Other countries in the top 10 rank are Syria, Pakistan, Somalia and India. Yemen, Philippines and the Democratic Republic complete the list.

These ten countries accounted for 87% of deaths from terrorism in 2018. Nigeria accounted for 13%.


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