GOVERNOR Babajide Sanwoolu has withheld funds donated to help Lagos amputee hawker Mary Daniel and handed her over to social welfare officials for investigation following revelations that her case was staged to raise money.
Ms Daniel, the Oshodi amputee hawker has become the latest celebrity ion the country after she was filmed selling water at Oshodi market. In interviews, she said that she lost a leg in an accident that killed all passengers including her parents when she was a teenager but this story has since proven to be false.
Following Ms Daniel’s harrowing tale, Nigerians started donating money through her bank account which was made public and within a week about N25m ($65,000) was raised. This prompted the state government to immediately shelter her to prevent criminals from taking advantage of this sudden fortune.
Just few days ago, a celebrity birthday party was held in Mary’s honour featuring many cakes, fanfare and a lot of photographs. All was going well until the state government discovered that her father was alive.
After her case was investigated, it was found out that she was not an orphan with a baby and an aged grandmother to fend for as she claimed. It was also detected she was amputated from birth, prompting Governor Sanwoolu to withhold the release of further funds to her.
Apparently, Ms Daniel 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. As a result, Governor Sanwoolu handed her over to officials of welfare in the presence of the police and some Kogi leaders, who attested to the fact that her father was alive.
Hakeem Odumosu, the Lagos State police commissioner, 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, we 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.”