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High Court judge rules Nigerian mother's FGM claims 'part of immigration scam'

Published 08/05/2016

The pair's three daughters were among the first females to be made subjects of female genital mutilation protection orders
The pair's three daughters were among the first females to be made subjects of female genital mutilation protection orders

A Nigerian illegal immigrant made female genital mutilation allegations against her ex-husband as part of an "immigration scam", a High Court judge has concluded.

The pair's three daughters - aged 13, 10 and seven - had been among the first females to be made the subject of female genital mutilation (FGM) protection orders.

A High Court judge had decided in July 2015 - following an application by the woman - that the girls needed protection because there was evidence that their Nigerian father was making arrangements for them to be ''cut''.

Mr Justice Holman had stressed that he had only heard the "one-sided account" of the woman - and he said the girls' father could mount a challenge.

The man, who lives in Nigeria, subsequently travelled to London to appear in court and deny allegations made by his ex-wife.

Now another High Court judge has concluded - after examining all sides of the case - that the woman "fundamentally and dishonestly misrepresented the true position".

Mr Justice MacDonald said it was "more likely than not" that she had made allegations and sought orders "as part of what is known colloquially as an 'immigration scam'."

The judge has also ruled that the children should no longer live with their mother in London but be cared for by their father - and he has given the man permission to move the youngsters to Nigeria.

He has revealed his conclusions in a written ruling published following a four-day trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Mr Justice MacDonald said no-one involved could be identified.

The judge said the woman had made a series of allegations.

She had said her ex-husband's family had "forced her to undergo FGM", said he had asked her to send the children to Nigeria so that FGM could be carried out on the two older girls, and had sent "white ceremonial robes".

Mr Justice MacDonald said the family had arrived on a two-year visitor visa more than three years ago.

Evidence showed that the man had returned to Nigeria and agreed to the woman and their children staying in England.

The mother had admitted being an "over-stayer" when she made allegations in July 2015.

On June 4 2015 the woman had failed in a bid to persuade Home Office officials to give her leave to stay in the UK, Mr Justice MacDonald said.

On June 26 2015 an appeal had been dismissed.

Nineteen days later she made FGM allegations against her ex-husband, and subsequently claimed asylum on the basis of the "alleged threat of FGM" to her daughters.

"Having considered the evidence, I am satisfied that the mother fundamentally and dishonestly misrepresented the true position," Mr Justice MacDonald said.

" Indeed ... I am satisfied that it is more likely than not that the mother made the allegations that she did and sought the orders that she did as part of what is known colloquially as an 'immigration scam'."

He added: "Having listened carefully to the evidence in this case and considered the submissions of the parties, I am satisfied that there is no appreciable risk of the children being subjected to female genital mutilation were they to return to the care of their father in Nigeria and that the mother's application for a continuation of the FGM orders first made in July 2015 should be dismissed."

The judge also concluded that the woman was lying when she claimed to have been subjected to FGM.

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