The Lagos State government on Wednesday disclosed that the story of the Oshodi amputee sachet water hawker, Mary Daniel, 26, who recently received donations from Nigerians due to her condition has been discovered as untrue.
The state government has therefore handed her over to Social Welfare officials for further investigation.
Ripples Nigeria had reported weeks ago that Daniel in a story that went viral on social media; garnered sympathy from Nigerians across the world after pictures of her selling satchet water at Oshodi flooded the internet.
The 26-year-old had in her story, claimed that she lost a leg in an accident that killed all passengers, including her parents when she was a teenager, noting that she was an orphan with a baby and an aged grandmother to fend for.
According to her, life hadn’t treated her fairly, as she dropped out of school and hit the streets to make a living.
Following her disturbing story, Nigerians donated money through her bank account, which was made public with about N25 million already raised.
Daniel’s story had touched people like Uche Nwosu, a son-in-law to the former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, who had recently, on April 11, donated N1 million to the amputee water hawker.
Nwosu had said he was moved by the lady’s strong commitment to hard work despite her disability and urged Nigerians to assist her.
The donations had prompted the state government to immediately shelter her to prevent criminals from taking advantage of her sudden fortune, while celebrities and media influencers cited her as an example of a true ‘hustler’.
Just a few days ago, a celebrity birthday party was held in her honour featuring many cakes, fanfare and photoshoots, among others.
All was going well for the young lady until the state government discovered on Wednesday that her father was alive and that she was amputated from birth, contrary to her story.
Following the development, Ripples Nigeria learnt that the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu immediately handed her over to officials of the social welfare for investigation following revelations her case was stage-managed.
It was gathered that the cat was let out of the bag following strange calls that Daniel continued to receive from a team that was said to have been instrumental to her Lagos fortune, threatening to reveal the truth unless she gave them their share of the money.
It was learnt that some Kogi leaders in Lagos had attested that Daniel’s father was still alive.
Commenting on the development, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, confirmed the development, saying the young woman was in the custody of officials of the Social Welfare and not the police as some media outlets earlier reported.
“The police were there but she was not handed over to us. She was handed over to Social Welfare. There were irregularities and lies in the account of her life she gave.
“It was discovered that contrary to her claim that her parents died during an accident that left her amputated, it was discovered that her father is very much alive and that she was amputated from birth.
“It was also discovered that her presence in Oshodi was staged. Those working with her played on the intelligence of Nigerians to get donations for her. It came to light when the people started threatening her. She promised some N500,000 others different amounts and was planning to return to her home state when the information leaked.
“I had to attach some policemen to her to prevent any attack on her when she went to the bank. We suspected those people might follow her but everything went well as they were not seen. Presently, the state government is preventing her from accessing the money.
“The government does not want a situation where it will become a trend for people to cook up stories, manipulate the people to get donations,” Odumosu explained.
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