Campaigners have set up a fighting fund to help support a mother, who fears her two children will be subjected to female genital mutilation, after she was deported to Nigeria.
Afusat Saliu, 31, and her two daughters Bassy, four, and Rashidat, two, were seized by officials earlier this month to return to Nigeria.
Ms Saliu, who herself is a victim of FGM, fears her daughters will be subjected to the procedure.
Anj Handa, a close friend of the family who had been living in Leeds, has established a fighting fund to help pay for Ms Saliu’s judicial review in a last-ditch attempt to keep her in Britain.
She has also penned a letter to the Home Office to ask why officials handcuffed Ms Saliu as she boarded the plane which caused her and her daughters “significant distress”.
She said the family has been made “destitute and homeless” by the move to Nigeria earlier this month.
In her letter she said: “Afusat is a dignified, gentle single mother of a two year old and four year old.
“She’s a good Christian woman, unfailingly polite and always willing to extend a hand to others through volunteering, even though she is in need of support herself.
“Bassy, aged four, is a sensitive little girl.
“She is inconsolable at being in a strange place, away from her teacher and friends, whom she was unable to say goodbye to; at having no fixed abode and with having few of her belongings about her.
“Rashidat is a feisty two year old who mercifully doesn’t understand much of what has taken place, but is nevertheless very unsettled and cries frequently.
“The public expressions of support have been overwhelming, as has the level of disgust at the manner in which the family has been treated.
She added: “Afusat’s case has been in the public eye for over six weeks now and we have witnessed the treatment she has experienced at the hands of the Home Office. It begs the question how others without a voice fare.”
More than 126,000 people signed a petition against the decision to deport the family.
A Home Office spokesperson told the Yorkshire Evening Post at the time: “We consider every claim for asylum on its individual merits and in this case the claimant was not considered to be in need of protection.
“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.”
* For more information and support the fund visit www.mydonate.bt.com/events/afusatsaliu