There was panic among Nigerians living in South Africa on Wednesday and Thursday after the Super Eagles defeated Bafana Bafana 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
After the recent murder of the Deputy Director-General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu, in South Africa, it is reported that the number of Nigerians killed in South Africa in three and half years has risen to 127.
The Nigerians, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone, said they were scared and many of them refused to celebrate the Eagles’ win publicly to avoid being attacked.
Few hours after the match, a Nigerian identified simply as Lekan, specifically warned his countrymen not to go to O.R. Tambo or Motherwell, where a Nigerian, identified as Emeka, was killed last Thursday.
On a WhatsApp group consisting of Nigerians in South Africa, he wrote, “Nobody should go to O.R Tambo or Motherwell after such lousy showing from our team.”
A Nigerian who resides in South Africa, Michael, said many of them could not go to commercial viewing centres and bars to watch the match as a result of fear.
Another Nigerian, who studies in the country, Oke, said, “We were told to avoid wearing the Nigerian jersey until after a week the match was played.”
When contacted, the President of Nigeria Union, South Africa, Mr Adetola Olubajo, said though there may be panic, no casualty was recorded.
He said, “There is no fresh killing or attack over the AFCON match. Definitely, when there is such match there is always panic. But we have not heard of any casualty from the match for now.”
Some of the Nigerians, however, dedicated the victory to those killed in xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Okwuruha said, “Fair play to Bafana Bafana, but this win is for the Nigerians killed in xenophobic attacks in South Africa. We will always remember them.”