IMMIGRATION officials have ordered the deportation of an asylum seeker from Sheffield to his African homeland - where he fears he may be imprisoned if he returns.
Barnard Mboueyeu, aged 34, fled the central African country of Cameroon in 2007 after he claims he was pursued by the authorities for supporting a political group opposed to the ruling regime.
He married Sheffield woman Sharon, aged 50, a charity worker, in 2010 and the pair set up home in Stanwell Walk, Wincobank.
But Barnard has been told that, despite the marriage, he will be granted leave to stay in Britain only if he returns to Cameroon first and applies for a spouse’s visa from there, as the couple have no children together.
Sharon said: “Barnard came to the UK in 2007 and was initially living at a bed and breakfast in Barnsley. I met him while he was living in the town. He was refused asylum and in May 2010, they detained him.”
Sharon said she raised concerns about his safety if he was forced to return home and Barnard was freed pending a final appeal - which has failed.
“The conditions were Draconian,” she said. “He was previously volunteering for charities helping other asylum seekers but was told he must give that up in order to stay.”
Sharon married Barnard in a ceremony at Pitsmoor Methodist Church.
She said: “If Barnard has to go back to Cameroon, I am worried I will never see him again. He is a wanted man.”
Sharon plans to start a campaign to allow her husband to stay and is to collect signatures on a petition. Barnard has been told he must return home at the start of May.
A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: “The UK has a proud record of offering sanctuary to those who need it and carefully consider all applications on their individual merits, but where we and the courts have found they do not qualify for protection they must return to their home country.
“When someone is found not to have a right to be here, we expect them to leave voluntarily. If they fail to do so, we will seek to remove them.”