The story of Mary Daniel induced sympathy and before long, cash began to roll in for her.
At the last count, she was said to have raked in N25 million. The Lagos State government was also planning to gift her N25 million.
Days later, however, Mary Daniel, the Oshodi amputee, has turned out a liar with huge gaps found in her story. The state government has withdrawn its donation to her.
Miss Daniel became a sensation weeks ago after pictures of her selling water in sachet at Oshodi surfaced on the social media. She claimed she lost a leg in an accident that killed all other passengers, including her parents when she was a teenager. It has now been found that she did not lose her leg in an accident and neither is her father dead.
She also claimed to be fending for a baby and an aged grandmother. She said she had to drop out of school and hit the streets to make ends meet.
The Lagos State government, which sheltered her to prevent criminals from taking advantage of her sudden fortune, also threw her a birthday party. But, the ‘honeymoon’ ended yesterday when the state government discovered that her father was alive and she was amputated from birth.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, The Nation learnt, handed her over to officials of the social welfare unit for investigation. She was handed her over to officials of welfare in the presence of the police and some Kogi elders, who attested that her father was alive.
Miss Daniel, it was gathered, 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.