Afusat Saliu (and her very young daughters) have won a temporary reprieve.
The Home Office had ordered Saliu to fly to Lagos on Friday after she had exhausted all attempts to stop her deportation.
But a last-minute intervention from her MP, George Mudie, has enabled her to stay temporarily in the UK. Mudie has written twice to James Brokenshire, the security and immigration minister, asking him to intervene. The Home Office has told Mudie that Brokenshire will be writing to him about Saliu’s case.
“The assumption is that this is a pause,” said Mudie. “I would be extremely disappointed if they tried to detain her while this is still going on. This is so important and sensitive.
“[Brokenshire] has got to satisfy himself that he is absolutely certain that these children are not in danger. It would be unforgivable if anything happened to these children if they go back.”
It seems very unlikely that he can be certain of any such thing. Saliu fled Nigeria because her family wanted to cut her daughter. Remember how Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her sister Halima were cut? It wasn’t because her parents wanted that; they didn’t. Their grandmother had it done in the parents’ absence.
Saliu arrived in the UK in 2011, and says that she fled Nigeria when her stepmother told her that her oldest daughter, Bassy, would be cut.
She gave birth to another child while in the UK, and has vowed to do everything possible to stop her daughters going through the mutilation she did.
“I don’t want them to be mutilated,” she said. “I know it will happen if I have to go back with them, I know it because it is the culture of my family.
So now it’s wait and see.