A Nigerian mother at the centre of an immigration row has been granted a last minute reprieve.
Jumoke Adediwura and her two British-born daughters Daniella, aged two, and three-year-old Elizabeth, were due to be "forcibly removed" from the UK on a 10pm British Airways flight last night.
But after it emerged Elizabeth had an ear infection and would not be able to receive the necessary vaccinations for travel to Africa, Ms Adediwura was told they would be deported at a later date.
According to Ms Adediwura's friend Holly Nolan, the 35-year-old fled Nigeria after years of ongoing violence in her village. She had since settled in Kings Heath. Keen to integrate, she began an English course, was about to take a computer course and wanted to become social worker to help the children of other asylum seekers.
Both her daughters were born in Birmingham and attended a nursery close to her home.
In the early hours of Wednesday, Ms Adediwura and her daughters were taken from their home in Linley Grove to the Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, Bedford.
On Monday, she was told by Home Office officials she had exhausted her appeal rights for asylum.
Ms Nolan added Ms Adediwura's eldest daughter had special needs. She said the mother had often raised concerns of the girl being murdered if they ever returned because of the views of some extreme Christians who thought disability was a punishment from God.
As a result, Ms Adediwura vowed to leave her daughters behind to ensure their safety, but has been told she is their legal guardian and will not be allowed to do so.
Along with other friends, Ms Nolan set up a website on social networking site Myspace. So far, she has attracted support from UB40, Sting, Benjamin Zephaniah, Pato Banton and X Factor's Rowetta.
Ms Nolan said the website was created in "desperation" as she came to terms with the fact she may never see her friend again.
"We know if she gets sent back that they will have a miserable existence," she said. "We have been researching their town and have read stories of terrible violence against women and children, ritual killings. There could be thousands of people who probably shouldn't be here, but there are exceptions.
"I understand asylum is a hot potato, but I just can't give up on them."
She added the friends were also concerned about Ms Adediwura's daughters, who may not have received the necessary vaccinations for the African nation. Yesterday, Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said Ms Adediwura's case would be carefully reviewed.
"All cases that arrive at my desk receive a thorough review and we will do what is right by the courts and the country," he said. Last night a spokeswoman for Birmingham MP Steve McCabe (Lab Hall Green), who had also been looking into the case, confirmed Ms Adediwura had exhausted her right of appeal.
She said: "We have heard from the Home Office. They are not going to postpone or cancel her case. We do understand that she has a lot of support and has made lots of friends in the community, but unfortunately she doesn't meet the requirements for asylum."
For more more information see http://birminghamcommunity.blogspot.com.