Fans breach protocols, throng airport, stadium to receive Eagles
A cross section of Nigerian soccer fans yesterday breached protocols and the tight security mounted by security agents at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to welcome the Super Eagles. The fans, cheering and waving the national flag and other decorative items, stormed the airport in the early hours of the day and waited patiently until late in the afternoon when the Arik flight finally touched down with members of the victorious Super Eagles.
From there on the surging crowd defiled control as the throng forward to touch and shake hands with the players and other officials and accompanied that with praise songs and dances. The players and officials arrived in Abuja at 3.25 p.m. and were decorated in Nigeria’s national colours as they came out of the plane. The excited fans stood up for the champions, singing and dancing.
In spite of the presence of security personnel, fans rushed to the 2013 AFCON champions to either have a hand shake or a hug, even some immigration and customs officers abandoned their duty posts to embrace the players as they walked through to the arrival hall. The Nigerian Supporters Club sang and played their musical instruments to the delight of all. Similarly, at the reception organised for the champions at the National Stadium, Abuja, fans turned out in large numbers to appreciate them.
The FCT Minister, Malam Bala Muhammed, on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan, received the team, while the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) music band entertained the crowd. Nigerians took the opportunity to showcase the cultural diversity of the country through their dances. Groups, such as National Council for Women Societies, Abuja branch, People’s Democratic Party Women in FCT and the Isuikwuato Development Union were all represented.
The Umuobiala group from Abia carried placards that read, “we welcome our heroic son Sunday Mba’’, on the occasion.