The findings come from the second edition of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, powered by Gallup, which consists of research with more than 125,000 people across 121 countries.
According to the data – collected in 2021 – Nigeria is the country with the fourth highest proportion of people who report feeling less safe than five years previously, behind only Lebanon, Afghanistan and Venezuela. At 61%, this number has increased by a dramatic 26 percentage points since the last World Risk Poll from 2019, when 35% of Nigerians reported feeling less safe.
While the Covid-19 pandemic may have played a role, reasons behind this sharp increase are likely linked to the country experiencing a wave of crime and violence in 2021 that included extremist insurgencies and kidnappings. This is reflected in the Poll results, with half (50%) of Nigerians saying they, or someone they know, has experienced serious harm from violent crime in the past two years. This is more than double the number in 2019, when this figure stood at 22%.
Other safety risks Nigerians feel ‘very worried’ about include road or traffic accidents (59%), severe weather (49%), and the work they do (37%). Significantly, all areas of risk that Nigerians were polled about in 2019 saw an increase in responses of people feeling very worried in 2021.
Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “The World Risk Poll is designed to provide insight for policymakers into which risks are most affecting the lives of populations across the world, and our findings will help them work with communities to make people safer.
“It provides a unique resource to analyse both global and regional trends, and the results from Nigeria are very concerning. In the midst of a global pandemic, the continued fear of those we polled shows that greater action must be taken to improve safety. It’s worth noting that, although violent crime was the biggest perceived threat to safety, other areas, including road or traffic accidents and severe weather also scored highly.
“Globally, especially in regions that already face widespread poverty and instability, governments and other policymakers must work with communities to build strategies to protect people from future pandemics that also account for the other risks they may now find themselves even more vulnerable to.”
Funding is available from Lloyd’s Register Foundation for further research and interventions using World Risk Poll data to reduce risk. To find out more, visit the World Risk Poll website.