Lagos State government has declared as false the viral story of one-legged Mary Daniels who hawks sachet water, popularly called pure water on the streets of Lagos.
Mary Daniel’s story dominated discussions on the Nigeria social space a few weeks ago after she said that her condition was due to a ghastly motor accident that killed all members of her family at once, leaving her as the only survivor with one leg. She said that she has since been hawking pure water in traffic just to survive. She also has a baby to care for whose father had abandoned them, and an aged grandmother to cater for.
Many Nigerians were moved with compassion when an interview with her was posted on the social media. It prompted people to donate generously for her rescue and a sum of N25 million was donated by various individuals and groups within few days.
This attracted the Lagos State Government’s attention who promptly provided security to prevent anyone from taking advantage of her. However, the story changed after the government attempted some background confirmation of details about her story. It was discovered that there was never an accident and her father is still alive and well. Her leg was chopped off when she was a baby due to medical complications.
It was also discovered that Mary had her story fabricated in collaboration with some like minds.
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu said “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.”