Sheffield man stranded in Africa slams 'unclear' rules over repatriation flights

A Sheffield man stranded in Africa after flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus crisus has criticised the "lack of clarity" over the Government's plans to fly him home.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 9:11 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd April 2020, 10:14 am

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the Government has made an arrangement with airlines to fly home tens of thousands of stranded British travellers where commercial flights are no longer available.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference on Monday, he said: "Under the arrangements that we are putting in place we will target flights from a range of priority countries, starting this week.”

But Adam Bradford, 27, from Sheffield, who has been stuck in Cotonou in Benin, West Africa, said it was unclear what constituted a priority country.

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Adam Bradford (right) with father David Bradford.

Mr Bradford's flight home on March 19 was cancelled and prices for tickets have risen to more than £4,000.

He said he has been in Africa since January as part of the Queen's Young Leaders youth programme, of which he is an ambassador for the Commonwealth.

"I have overstayed my visa and cannot get an extension," he said. "Thus I am here illegally until further notice.”

On Mr Raab's announcement he said: "To me it's the same as last week- good words but actions need to follow.”

He said that shortly after the announcement, he was told by the nearest British embassy, across the border in Ghana, that Benin did not constitute a priority country.

Mr Bradford said he is now looking for affordable flights in May, but added: "But they could well be cancelled, the ones before it were.”

Mr Raab said priority would be given to the most vulnerable, including the elderly or those with pressing medical needs, and also to countries where there are large numbers of British tourists trying to return to the UK.

Adam’s father, David Bradford, 63, said: “I really do not know what to say. As a family we do not know what to do, there is no instruction manual for this.

“Will Boris Johnson provide a rescue package for people whose careers, finances and situations been devastated by this policy which is trapping a million citizens off the UK’s shores?”