Everything was going perfectly well for Mary Daniel, the amputee Lagos trader who sold a touching story of loss, grief, perseverance which made kind Nigerians raise over N25 million for her in donations. Her story is familiar with Nigerians but amid its familiarity, it makes the listener open their bank apps to send money.
Mary Daniel went viral on the internet early this month after she was captured hawking pure water on a busy Oshodi traffic. She disclosed that she was involved in an accident that claimed many lives including that of her parents. Mary also painted a picture as the only survivor with a loss of one leg as a testament to her ordeal.
In her story, the Lagos amputee trader claimed to be fending for an aged grandmother and a baby, all these made Nigerians dipped hands into pockets to take her out of the streets as donations rained like showers. However, an investigation from the Lagos State Government which took over her case in order to make sure she receives her donations reveals that Mary was amputated from birth and her father is still alive.
Further investigations reveal that she was receiving strange calls from those who staged her story with threats to reveal the truth unless she gave them their share of the money. Commissioner of Police (CP) Hakeem Odumosu clarified that the young woman was in the custody of social welfare and not the police.
“The police were there but she was not handed over to us. She was handed over to the 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, 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 said.