Nigerian mother loses battle to stay in UK and avoid FGM risk to daughters
According to the report on the UK online news website The Guardian, a mother faces deportation on Friday after the Home Office rejected new evidence that suggested her young daughters were at risk of having female genital mutilation performed on them in her native Nigeria.
More than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Home Office to halt the planned deportation of Afusat Saliu, 31.
But despite attempts to mount a last-minute legal
challenge, and the strength of public support for Saliu – herself a victim of FGM – the Home Office appears determined to force her to return to Nigeria with her daughters, aged one and three.
Saliu, who lives in Leeds, has been ordered to report to Heathrow for deportation on Friday, having exhausted her legal efforts to fight against removal.
It is likely if she does not comply that she and her children, one of whom was born in the UK, will be taken into a refugee holding centre within the next two weeks.
The Home Office on Wednesday rejected new evidence presented by Saliu's legal team from her former boyfriend and her cousin, who testified that her daughters would be subjected to FGM if the family were deported to Nigeria.
A leading international lawyer, Felicity Gerry QC, had hoped to halt the move with an emergency injunction and a judicial review, but that proved to be impossible for legal reasons.
As the countdown to Saliu's deportation began, George Mudie, the MP for Leeds East, wrote to James Brokenshire, the Home Office minister, calling for the deportation plans to be halted.
Speaking from Leeds, Saliu said she wanted to protect her daughters from suffering the mutilation she had suffered.
She said: "I don't want my daughters to be mutilated like I was. That will happen if I take them back, I know it because it is the culture of my family. They believe in it and I will not be able to do anything.
"It happened to me and I don't want my daughters to go through the same thing."
The campaign backing Saliu's right to remain in the UK has grown rapidly over the past 48 hours, with the number of people signing a petition on change.org/afusat exceeding 100,000 by Thursday afternoon.