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Nigerian woman who fled FGM 'faces death' if deported back

A WOMAN facing deportation from Britain to Nigeria risks being killed if returned to her home country, campaigners said yesterday.

Afusat Saliu was taken into custody by UK Border Agency staff on Wednesday and was scheduled to be flown back to the African country last night.

She fled to the Britain in 2011 while heavily pregnant after her stepmother threatened to subject her daughter Bassy, now four, to female genital mutilation (FGM). Her second daughter Rashidat, two, was born in London.

Ms Saliu — herself a victim of FGM — has said she fears her children will be cut and that she will be forced to marry a man against her will if she returns to her native country.

Since moving to Leeds three years ago Ms Saliu has converted to Christianity and friends and supporters fear she will be targeted by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram — the group responsible for the abduction of around 250 mainly Christian schoolgirls in northern Nigeria.

Ms Saliu’s solicitor BP Legal has launched a judicial review in a last-ditch attempt to keep her in Britain and has accused Home Office officials of ignoring their own guidelines by ordering her deportation before the review is heard.

Bhumika Parmar, her lawyer, said: “Once judicial review is issued, the Home Office rarely removes as a right to a fair hearing should be exercised.

“In fact, their own guidelines state that detention should be a last resort.”

More than 120,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Home Office to halt the deportation.

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