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Family to be deported despite mother's fear of FGM for her daughters

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A woman and her two young daughters are set to be sent back to Nigeria from the UK after their asylum claim was rejected, despite the fact the two girls will face the possibility of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM).

Afusat Saliu, 31, whose two daughters, Basirat and Rashidat, are three and one respectively, is a victim of FGM herself so she knows all too well the suffering they face.

Saliu fled Nigeria in 2011 after her stepmother told her that her oldest daughter would undergo the procedure.

As they are Christians, she also fears for their safety and is concerned that they will be targets from the extremist Islamic group Boko Haram - the group which kidnapped 284 girls from a Nigerian school last month.

The family's lawyer, Bhumika Parmar of BP Legal, told the Guardian, that the family has been taken into custody by Home Office officials and transported from their home in Leeds to London for removal. However, Parmar only discovered her client had been removed late on Wednesday evening, when her client was already en route.

In a letter to the Home Office to discover her client's whereabouts, Parmar wrote:

"You have clearly breached your own policy. Furthermore, you have not advised that our client will receive the relevant protection required in Lagos, especially in light of the public interest in her case. You have failed to consider that our client has no support if she is to be returned, especially with two very young children. What proposals are there to house and maintain the family unit once she arrives in Lagos?"

Saliu's friend Anj Handa had been campaigning to get the authorities to allow Saliu and her daughters to stay in the country, by setting up a campaign with Change.org. The petition called on the Home Office to reconsider her case and was signed by more than 120,000 people, however, it appears that this hasn't been enough to keep Saliu from deportation.

You can watch Saliu's story here.

[Via the Guardian]

(Images: the Guardian)

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