Home News AFCON2023: Safety of Nigerians in South Africa False Alarms, Says SA DIRCO
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AFCON2023: Safety of Nigerians in South Africa False Alarms, Says SA DIRCO

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AFCON2023 Safety of Nigerians in South Africa False Alarms, Says SA DIRCO

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) released a press statement on Tuesday, stating it had learned of an unfortunate advisory of Nigeria’s High Commissioner in Pretoria.

This remark is in response to the concerns raised by Nigeria’s High Commissioner in Pretoria, Mr. Muhammad Haruna Manta, on Tuesday, which warns Nigerians to be cautious before, during, and after Wednesday’s semi-final game.

Meanwhile, the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final match that brought the Super Eagles of Nigeria and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana national teams together held thousands of miles away in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire. In light of the dark past, the advisory came off as unpleasant to the South African Authority.

Advisory to Nigerians in SA

In part, the statement reads;

The attention of the Nigeria High Commission in Pretoria has been drawn to potentially inflammatory online comments made by a section of South African citizens against Nigerians, largely influenced by the upcoming 2024 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final match between the Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana on Wednesday, 7 February 2024.

In furtherance, “Most of the comments consist of veiled threats against “Nigerians cooking jollof rice” before the match and “showing pepper to Nigerians if Bafana Bafana loses to the Super Eagles,” among others.

“In this regard, the High Commission hereby advises the Nigerian community to be watchful of their utterances, be mindful of where they choose to watch the match, especially in public places, and refrain from engaging in loud, riotous, or provocative celebrations should the Super Eagles win the match.

“Additionally, Nigerians should maintain the good conduct they are known for and be law-abiding before, during, and after the match. Should any provocations arise, they should not be reciprocated but reported to the appropriate authorities.”

Dark Past

In the last two decades, Nigeria and South Africa have documented incidents of violence and discrimination targeting migrants, especially Nigerians living in South Africa.

At least 60 Nigerians were reportedly killed and thousands displaced during widespread xenophobic attacks that followed in 2008.

In a BBC African Eye Documentary released on September 18, 2023, South African citizens had formed a level of targeted hatred towards foreigners, particularly Nigerians, who are mostly accused of pushing drugs to their kids.

Similar outbreaks occurred in 2015 and 2019, which also led to the loss of lives and properties and the displacement of many Nigerians.

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