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A Nigerian mother who appealed against her removal from the UK, saying she feared her daughters would be subjected to female genital mutilation, has been deported.
The Home Office released a statement saying that Afusat Saliu "was not considered to be in need of protection".
The statement also pointed out that Ms Saliu's appication to stop deportation had been turned down by the courts on several occasions.
"The case has gone through the proper legal process and our decision has been supported by the UK courts on five separate occasions, while the European Court of Human Rights declined an application to halt the removal.”
"We can now confirm that a Nigerian family were successfully removed to their country of origin today."
Supporters of Afusat Saliu, the mother of two who fears her daughters will be subjected to female genital mutilation in her homeland of Nigeria, believe she was deported last night, the Guardian has reported.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
Anj Handa, a friend of Afusat Saliu, who set up the petition on campaigning website Change.org, said:
A mother who fears her two daughters will be subjected to female genital mutilation in her native Nigeria has been told she will be deported tonight.
Afusat Saliu, 31, and her two daughters Bassy, four, and Rashidat, two, were seized by officials on Wednesday and were due to be flown to Lagos but were given an overnight reprieve.
Human rights activists representing Ms Saliu said that she was expected to be deported with her daughters at 7pm from Heathrow airport.
A friend of the mother who, along with her two daughters, faces deportation to Nigeria has thanked supporters who have signed a petition calling for the Home Office to review the evidence.
Anj Handa wrote on Twitter:
A Home Office spokeswoman would not confirm if the deportation of Afusat Saliu and her daughters to Nigeria has been delayed, saying it does not comment on individual cases.
Ms Saliu told ITV News she fears her two daughters, four-year-old Bassy and two-year-old Rashidat, will be subjected to female genital mutilation in her native Nigeria if they are deported.
Last night, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson was flooded with more than a thousand tweets urging him personally to step in to block the flight.
He later tweeted:
Latest ITV News reports
A mother fighting deportation to Nigeria over fears her daughters will face female genital mutilation tells ITV News she feels "let down".