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  1. ITV Report

Mother appeals against deportation to Nigeria over FGM fears

A mother fighting deportation to Nigeria because she fears her daughters will face female genital mutilation (FGM) has told ITV News she feels "let down" by the Home Office.

Afusat Saliu and her daughters, four-year-old Bassy and two-year-old Rashidat, were seized by immigration officials on Wednesday.

They were due to be deported on a flight to Lagos last night, but were given an overnight reprieve.

ITV News International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar speaks to Afusat Saliu, who is in a holding facility. Credit: ITV News

Speaking to International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar from a holding facility near Heathrow Airport, Ms Saliu said she fled Nigeria to escape a forced marriage to man 40 years her senior to whom her family was indebted.

The 31-year-old mother, who was a victim of FGM, said:

I feel let down, I feel let down because [the Home Office] didn't give me the chance, they didn't care about my children and I came here to this country for protection.

I'm scared of my extended family. My two girls, how can I protect them?

I know how traumatic it [FGM] is and I don't want my girls, these two innocent girls, to go through it.

Lawyers acting for Ms Saliu have launched a judicial review in a last-ditch attempt to keep her in Britain, while a petition on campaign site Change.org has been signed by almost 125,000 people.

Afusat Saliu with her daughters Bassy (left) and Rashidat (middle) Credit: Change.org

Anj Handa, a friend of Ms Saliu who created the petition, said the mother would remain detained overnight:

Ms Saliu fled to the UK in 2011 while she was heavily pregnant with her second child after her stepmother threatened to subject her daughter Bassy to FGM.

A Home Office spokeswoman said it does not comment on individual cases and would not confirm if Ms Saliu's deportation has been delayed.