Britain Holds Deportation of Nigerian Woman Who Fears Forced Genital Mutilation on Daughters

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By Vittorio Hernandez | June 2, 2014 9:01 AM EST

British authorities held over the weekend the deportation order for 31-year-old Nigerian migrant Afusat Saliu back to her homeland. She and her two daughters, 2-year-old Rashidat and 4-year-old Bassy, were supposed to be forcibly sent back to the African nation on Thursday evening which she opposed because of fear that genital mutilation would be forced on her daughters.

Reuters
Village surgeon performs female genital mutilation on teenage girls from the Sebei tribe in Bukwa district, Uganda

Ahead of the deportation, Saliu and her children were fetched from their home in Leed to London. Her lawyer, Bhumika Parmar, opposed the move because it violated Home Office regulations that the family was not given the necessary 72-hour notice of a deportation.

It is believed the change was caused by the pressure placed on Virgin Australia, the air carrier that was supposed to fly Saliu and her daughters back to Nigeria.

However, the letter from the Treasury Solicitor to Parmar stated the stop to deportation was only temporary.

From Sheffield, the three Nigerians were brought to Cayley House, a temporary facility in Heathrow where the spent Wednesday night. Saliu described the place as terrible since they had to sleep on the floor and lacked privacy, including inside the toilet.

From Cayley, the three were moved on Thursday night to Cedars detention centre near Gatwick. While the migrant mother said that the staff at Cayley House was nice, the place is not a good place for young children.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and his daughter Holly, an official at the air carrier, opposed the deportation.

MP George Mudie wrote to the Home Office to seek a halt of the deportation until the result of Saliu's application for a judicial review was heard.

Salie was fearful of forced genital mutilation on her daughters because she was a victim of female circumcision herself. In 2011, Saliu left Nigeria with her daughters because of the threat from her stepmother to have Bassy undergo the procedure.

Another of her worry is that the family converted to Christianity which could make her daughters targets of the Islamist militant Boo Haram if they are forced to return to Nigeria.

Over 120,000 signed a petition on the Web site Change.org for the Home Office to reconsider Saliu's deportation. 

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Village surgeon performs female genital mutilation on teenage girls from the Sebei tribe in Bukwa district, Uganda
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