The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has responded to the Nigeria High Commission advisory to its citizens living in South Africa, saying it creates unnecessary tension.
This comes after the commission issued an advisory warning its citizens residing in South Africa to refrain from celebrating loudly should the Super Eagles topple Bafana Bafana in their crunch Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semi-final clash on Wednesday evening.
The commission alleged that prior to the much-anticipated encounter, certain South Africans made provocative remarks on social media to harm Nigerians.
“Refrain from engaging in loud, riotous, or provocative celebrations should the Super Eagles win the match,” reads the commission’s statement.
“Most of the comments consist of veiled threats against Nigerians cooking jallof rice before the match and showing pepper to Nigerians if the Bafana Bafana lose to the Super Eagles, among others.
“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.”
Dirco has since issued a response to the Nigerian commission, saying the advisory to its citizens will create unnecessary tension between South Africans and Nigerians.
“Dirco has learned about an unfortunate advisory issued by the high commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Pretoria,” Dirco said in a statement.
“The advisory is regrettable as it seems to create alarm and unnecessary tension between South African citizens and Nigerians living in or visiting SA.
“The South African national football team, Bafana Bafana, has played against their Nigerian counterparts, the Super Eagles, on many occasions, and there has been no history of soccer hooliganism among South Africans associated with the outcome of such encounters.
“We are confident that the sports-loving nation of South Africa poses no threat to Nigerian citizens, and we do not agree with the apprehension expressed by the high commission.
“As we have done in the past with similar alarming advisories, we call on the diplomatic representatives to approach Dirco to address any concerns about diplomatic matters.”
Bafana and the Super Eagles will lock horns at the Stade Bouaké, northeast of Ivory Coast. The game will start at 7pm (SA time).