Stephen Anokye Badu, a former defender of the Ghana Premier League (GPL) Aduana Stars, has made a passionate appeal to the government to intervene to airlift Ghanaians based in Kuwait and Iraq to Ghana, following the untold hardship that the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought on them.
“Many of us are facing hardship and struggling to live our normal daily lives,” he said, after the imposition of coronavirus restrictions in that country.
He said the Kuwaiti government this year airlifted 241 Ghanaian nationals back to their home country, under Kuwait’s annual programme to return foreigners. With the outbreak of the virus and the subsequent lockdown, however, some had missed out on the chance to return to Ghana and were encountering difficulties.
“These also involved those whose documents have expired and wanted to renew them, or in one way or the other were facing hardship and challenges regarding their stay in that country,” he said.
Anokye Badu, popularly known as “Atronie”, who spoke on behalf of the group, told the Ghana News Agency that the restrictions had led to a halt in business activities and all sporting events. Many Ghanaians had lost their jobs and businesses.
“Personally, due to the biting effects of the lockdown in that country, I have made an effort by calling Ghana’s ambassador in that country and have held discussions with him over the matter.
“He asked me to contact a woman who works at the airport for assistance. When I called, the person told me unless they get a total of 150 Ghanaians who want to return, they will not get a plane for us.
“She didn’t get the 150 people she needed, so we are still locked up,” he said.
The former Aduana Stars player said that following the expiration and termination of his ten-month contract with Tadamon Sporting Club last month, officials of the club withdrew all contract obligations, including payment of rent charges.
“They paid my apartment rent charges up to last month when my contract ended and have made it clear to me that they won’t continue with the payment.
“I should take that burden up for myself. But the situation is very difficult for me here. We are locked down, and I don’t do any work to earn extra money to pay rent charges.
“I just want to return home,” he said. “I can’t survive with the little money on me now that my contract has ended. And we don’t know when exactly restrictions will be lifted, too,” he said.
He expressed grave concern about the way the Ghana Embassy in Kuwait had handled the matter and appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to act quickly and respond to the expatriate Ghanaians’ distress call, adding that things were getting worse by the day.
Of his future plans, he said he would be willing to play outside Ghana if the COVID-19 situation normalises but is ready to join the local league as well.
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