Afusat Saliu
Afusat Saliu and her family have been in the UK for the past there yearsAnj Handa/

An asylum seeker who fought deportation back to Nigeria over fears her daughters would become victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was flown out of the UK.

Afusat Saliu, 31, and her daughters Bassy, three, and Rasidat, one, were put on a flight from Heathrow to be flown back towards Nigeria on 2 June despite a last-minute bid by her lawyers to block her deportation.

More than 125,000 people signed an online petition urging the Home Office to let Saliu remain in the UK. People also asked Virgin Atlantic owner Richard Branson to personally intervene and stop the Virgin flight from taking the family. The company was accused of hypocrisy for not stepping in after launching a campaign to stop FGM in March.

Bhumika Parmar, of BP Legal, who was previously able to give Saliu a temporary reprieve from deportation after requesting a judicial review, has now said her client has been put on a flight to Nigeria.

A Home Office spokesperson said they considered Saliu's case and decided that she is "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," the spokesperson added.

As well as fears that her daughters will endure FGM, Saliu, a victim herself, claims her family will targeted by Islamic militants Boko Haram on her return to Nigeria.

Anj Handa, a friend of Saliu, who set up the petition, said the Home Office had "failed miserably" to show they are serious about stopping FGM by deporting Saliu and her family.

She added: "We have been thwarted at every turn and the Government has failed on so many counts in this case.

"The Home Office has failed to stick to its own guidelines on so many counts and have failed Afusat and her daughters miserably.

"The Government had a chance to show leadership on the issue of FGM and again have failed miserably."