The index, which is published by the Institute of Economics and Peace, measures peacefulness using 23 indicators, including a nation’s level of military expenditure as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product, its relations with neighbouring countries, the level of perceived criminality, likelihood of violent demonstrations, level of organised conflict, terrorist acts and the level of respect for human rights.
The latest ranking came on the heels of Federal Government’s insistence that Nigeria was safe for investment, despite incessant bomb attacks that had killed many people, especially in the North.
Other factors that may have contributed to country’s low score include the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta, kidnappings in different parts of the country, and the increased government expenditure on security.
From 2007 to date, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the index, signifying worsening state of the nation in terms of peace and security in the past five years.
The country ranked 117th out of 121 in 2007; 129th out of 140 in 2008; 129th out of 144 in 2009; 137th out of 149 in 2010; and 142nd out of 153 in 2011.
In spite of the decline in peace in Nigeria and some other countries, especially in Africa and Middle East, this year’s index showed that the world had become more peaceful for the first time since 2009.
Iceland remained the most peaceful country in the world, followed by Denmark and New Zealand while Somalia remained the least peaceful followed by Afghanistan and Sudan.
Syria had the biggest drop in margin, falling over 30 places to tie with Libya at the 147th position, just behind Nigeria.
The UK, US and China were among the countries that became less peaceful, dropping to 29th, 88th and 89th positions respectively, while Canada, Spain and Italy became more peaceful ranking 4th, 25th and 38th in that order.
Despite dropping from 42nd to 50th, Ghana remained the most peaceful country in West Africa, followed by Sierra Leone in the 52nd position; Burkina Faso in the 56th position.Nigeria was the least peaceful in the sub-region, followed by Cote d’Ivoire in the 134th position and Mauritania in 125th position on the global list.
Linking global peace to economic advancement, the report noted that, “If the world was completely peaceful in 2011, the additional economic impact would have been an estimated US$9 trn (equal to the size of the German and Japanese economies combined). While a total elimination of violence may not be possible, an achievable 25 per cent reduction in violence could reap a peace dividend of at least US$2.25 trn.”