Nigerians living in South Africa have been warned of possible threats of xenophobic attacks ahead of Wednesday’s top flight semi-final clash between the Nigerian Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Cote d’ Ivoire.
The Nigerian High Commission in South Africa raised the alarm on Monday in a statement and warned Nigerians about impending attacks apparently because the Eagles were favoured to win the big match.
It, therefore, warned 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.
An advisory issued by the High Commission in Pretoria, stated: “The attention of the Nigeria High Commission Pretoria has been drawn to potentially inflammatory online comments made by a section of South African citizens against Nigerians living in host country, largely influenced by the upcoming 2024 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) semi-final match between the Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana on Wednesday 7th February 2024.
“Most of the comments consist of veiled threats against “Nigerians cooking jollof rice” before the match, and “showing pepper to Nigerians if Bafana Bafana lose 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,” the High Commission said.
Nigerians have come under increasing xenophobic attacks in the former Apartheid enclave in recent years, the last being in 2019, where some Nigerians were killed and their property looted by rampaging mobs. This elicited reaction from Nigerians who went out in reprisal attacks against South African businesses in Lagos and parts of Abuja.
History is on the side of the Super Eagles, which have not lost a game to South Africa in the Nations Cup tournament.