The 2020 Global Peace Index (GPI) has ranked Nigeria 147 among 163 independent states and territories, according to its level of peacefulness.
This means that Nigeria has moved one step from 148 in 2019.
The GPI, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, measures the state of peace in countries.
It assesses countries in three domains, including the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarisation.
The 14th edition of the GPI, released on Wednesday, also measured the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on peace.
This looked especially at the impact of the pandemic, and in particular, how its economic consequences will increase the risk of severe deteriorations in peace over the next few years.
It also examined which countries were best placed to recover from the shock.
The GPI further analysed the potential long-term impact of climate change on levels of peacefulness.
An estimated 971 million people live in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards.
According to the report, the level of global peacefulness deteriorated, with the average country score falling by 0.34 per cent.
This is the ninth deterioration in peacefulness in the last 12 years, with 81 countries improving, and 80 recording deteriorations over the past year.
It said, “Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark.”
Afghanistan remained the least peaceful country in the world for the second year in a row, followed by Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen.
Meanwhile, Sub-Saharan Africa recorded a slight fall in peacefulness on the 2020 GPI, with an overall score deterioration of 0.5 per cent.
Twenty countries in the region improved in peacefulness while 24 deteriorated.
“Disputes over election results and demands for political change have led to civil unrest and political instability in several countries across the region, with violent protests breaking out in many countries over the past year,” the report said.
Nigeria was ranked among the five least peaceful countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Describing the situation, the report said, “Nigeria continues to face challenges on both safety and security and ongoing conflict domains.
“The conflict between government forces and Boko Haram in the Northeast led to an estimated 640 civilians killed in 2019.
“In addition, Nigeria’s problems with cross-border smuggling and imports undercutting local producers have led the government to shut down its borders, causing Nigeria’s relationship with neighbouring countries to deteriorate.
“Over the last year, the country has recorded further deteriorations in militarisation and ongoing conflict and an overall deterioration in peacefulness of 0.8 per cent,” it added.
The data also recorded that civil unrest in sub-Saharan Africa rose by more than 800 per cent over the period with Nigeria accounting for the highest number of demonstrations and the most increase in civil unrest.
In 2018, the number of demonstrations rose from six to 79 in a single year.
“Perhaps the most prominent issue was the imprisonment of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
“Supporters of the IMN protested repeatedly throughout the year to call for Zakzaky’s release, who had been imprisoned since 2015,” the report added.