Olayinka is now 17, and currently lives in Rochdale with her mum and her two brothers (18 and 16). They are here because Olayinka refuses to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), part of cultural tradition within her father’s family and tribe in Nigeria.
Olayinka has made it crystal clear that she would rather die in Britain than be deported to Nigeria and endure FGM – she attempted suicide three months ago.Olayinka’s family fled from Nigeria and applied for asylum in Britain in 2009. Olayinka’s elder sister (her mother Abiola’s first child) was born in Nigeria and died in 1992, aged 8, after being forced to undergo FGM. When Abiola had Olayinka, she was terrified that the same could happen to her second daughter as well. This created great tension in Abiola’s marriage and she eventually left her husband in 2003. However, Olayinka’s paternal uncle continued to pressure mother and child.In 2009, just before Olayinka was 13, her uncle sent some friends to remove her forcibly. Olayinka resisted. They beat her and her brother who tried to help her. She was hospitalized with permanent damage to both hands. Olayinka’s mother Abiola was then threatened that she would be killed if she did not let her daughter undergo FGM.
Left: some of the adults campaigning to protect this child and her family
Abiola turned to the Nigerian police. They told her that they also respected ‘traditional’ and family acts in Nigeria and advised her to relocate. They moved, but were tracked down – at which point they fled to the UK. Since 2010, when her father died, Olayinka has been at even higher risk of being forced to undergo FGM in Nigeria. She and her mother are being blamed for his death as it is a cultural belief that, without the FGM, bad things will continue to happen to their family.
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