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Misleading 2020 global terrorism ranking resurfaces online




IN April 2021, following widespread killings and attacks in Nigeria,  former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar shared a contentious infographic which showed the top countries on the 2020 global terrorism ranking. The image originated from a Nigerian television channel, TVC news.

Abubakar who was the presidential candidate of the main opposition party in the 2019 election,  tweeted the graphic with the caption, “Yes, the challenges we face are enormous. But they are surmountable. What we need is the leadership and the will to do what is right for our country and its people.”

Misleading 2020 GTI index.
Misleading 2020 GTI index.

The Claim

Infographic shows the 2020 ranking for Global Terrorism Index (GTI)

The Findings

In 2020, The FactCheckHub verified the graphic which originated from TVC and found it to be misleading.

The station on one of its programmes, ‘Journalists Hangout’  had  shared it, while stating that Nigeria has emerged the top African country on global terrorism list.

The image placed Nigeria as the third most terrorised country in the world according to the 2020 GTI ranking.

The problem was that, as at September, 2020 when the programme aired, the GTI ranking for 2020 had not been released.

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The list is released November annually, the ranking body, Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) confirmed to The FactCheckHub. 

A screenshot of the 2020 Global Terrorism Index.
A screenshot of the 2020 Global Terrorism Index.

However, when the 2020 list was released, Nigeria still ranked third and Afghanistan and Iraq ranked first and second respectively as shared in the image.

Even though the countries on the list remained the same, the ranking for five of them had changed.

The infographic has Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, India, Yemen, Philippines and DR Congo as the top ten, the actual ranking released differs in order; Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, India, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Philippines.

Further checks showed that TVC passed an old ranking; the one for 2019 as that of 2020. The programme which started with the announcement of the ranking was uploaded on YouTube with the headline ‘Nigeria Emerges Most Terrorised Country In Africa, Ranks Worse Than Syria, Yemen, Somalia’.  As at the time of this report there is nothing in the video description to notify viewers of the error.

A screenshot of the 2019 Global Terrorism Index.
A screenshot of the 2019 Global Terrorism Index.

The Verdict

The infographic showing 2020 ranking for Global Terrorism Index is MISLEADING, as the information is that of the 2019 ranking.

Author profile

'Niyi works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via noyedeji@icirnigeria.org. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @niyi_oyedeji.

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