Udeh Chiamaka, the model who displayed a blood-stained Nigerian flag while walking the Miss Africa Russian runway, says she has been receiving threats and insults from different quarters since after the video went viral.

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The Russia-based fourth-year medical student had provoked controversy on Tuesday after the viral video showed her holding up the red-stained flag while appearing on stage at the pageant in Moscow as Nigeria’s representative.

Susan Henshaw, a lawyer, had also disapproved of Udeh’s act of protest, alleging that she wanted to cheat her way through the competition by causing sentiments and playing on the emotions of the judges.

But in a chat with BBC Igbo, the Lagos-born model from Anambra explained that the act was never intended to tarnish the image of her country.

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Udeh Chiamaka

“What I did was actually from my heart. I did it myself; no one told me to. It was a competition, a platform that was given to me. I used that platform to create an awareness of what is happening in Nigeria,” she can be heard saying.

“I did it duo to what happened on October 20 [2020]. I also did it because of the recent happenings now in Nigeria. It was basically to tell the world that we’ve not forgotten our fallen heroes, the Lekki protesters who died.

“I did it to also portray recent happenings because there are still killings, insecurity, rape, and all of those things. The flag signifies everything. That category was the ‘Tradition Cultural or National Costume’.

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“I felt that I should dress as a nationalist to portray what is happening. I never thought it was going to go viral at all. I don’t know who shared it with bloggers. Right now that it has gone viral, I have received a lot of threats.

“I have received a lot of insults but it’s okay. People who got the message got it. For those who didn’t, it’s not on me. It was never my intention to tarnish the image of Nigeria. It was me creating an awareness that we need help.”

Before now, a photo of the red-stained flag had gone viral as a symbolism of the bloodshed during the shooting of #EndSARS protesters in Lekki, Lagos. The youth had also used it to portray the insecurity situation in the country.

Bovi, a comedian, pulled off a similar act at The Headies 2021 with a blood-stained #EndSARS-themed outfit.

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