Mary Daniel, the twenty-seven-year-old Lagos amputee hawker, has pleaded with Nigerians to forgive her for lying that her father was dead.
Daniel, who spoke with SaharaReporters on Thursday, said she made a mistake by saying her father was dead because the man abandoned her.
Reacting to allegations that her story was staged, Daniel refuted such allegations stating that she had been hawking sachet water despite being an amputee because she does not know how to beg for alms but rather work to survive.
She said she had been hawking in Onitsha in Anambra state, from where she moved to Asaba in Delta state and now to Lagos where she was hawking before fortune smiled on her.
Also, a report has said Daniel had been receiving strange calls from a team who were instrumental to her fortune in Lagos.
However, the young lady told SaharaReporters that it was no other person but her maternal grandmother, who was sad that she only got N200, 000 from Daniel's fortune so far.
She claimed there was nothing to lie about as it's obvious she is an amputee who lost a leg to an accident.
“My father abandoned me since I was involved in this accident, there was no one to take care of me, nothing! That was why I said he's dead. But my mother is truly dead. I had an accident truly; I was not amputated from birth.
“It was my grandmother that called me that she does not have anything, that if I have, I should send it. I said let me give her small money so she can use it to manage herself for now. I wanted to send N100, 000, I sent N200, 000 instead. She called me and asked why I sent her such a meagre amount, that, do I think she doesn't know what's going on, that how will people be contributing money for me and all I do is to send N200, 000.
“She said I'd rather send more money or she will expose me and I will go back to selling ‘pure’ (satchet) water. I was shocked and asked what sort of thing is this. She's my maternal grandmother, she is really old.
“My aunties and uncles from my mother's side are the ones pushing my grandmother into this and if she continues like this, later she will regret it. I have told her to calm down that I will take care of her but she refused. She is busy following her children around, making videos, that's their business.
“Nigerians should forgive me. People that stay on the streets and in noisy places, they hardly have a settled mind and I said my father is late so Nigerians can help me. I made a big mistake; Nigerians should please forgive me.
“I want to open a supermarket in Lagos. I have always been a pure water hawker. Lagos is not the first place, I started from Onitsha, from there, I sold pure water in Asaba from there I came to Lagos. I don't beg, even in my condition, I hawk that water so I can survive. That's the business I have always been doing.
“I really appreciate the Lagos state government, Mr Idris, the hotel man that gave me accommodation, that celebrated my birthday. I also appreciate Princess Aderemi, for all the support and everyone that helped. I promise not to fail Nigerians.”
Also speaking, His Royal Highness, Sani Yakubu Ejima, Onu Igala, leader of the Igala people in Lagos and chairman of all the Kogi Igala traditional rulers in Lagos told SaharaReporters that the young woman was not handed over to the police as some reports had claimed.
According to him, the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Civic Engagement, Aderemi Adebowale, handed Daniel over to a committee, including Irede Foundation and to him so they can assist Daniel in setting up a business.
The handing over was done in the presence of a senior police officer who represented the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu.
He said the police were called in to ensure the security of the young woman, and not to arrest or intimidate her.
He said, “Yesterday, Mary called me and I called the people who she's with in Lagos state and they asked me to come over for a press conference, the woman had already organised a press conference. We sat in the press conference where the woman called someone from the Irede Foundation, we had the commissioner of police, everyone present and they said they will establish Mary in Lagos.
“They set up a committee, I'm part of that committee and with Irede foundation and co, that Mary will be set up, they asked that she come up with a business idea, they arrived at a conclusion that when Mary finds out what she wants to do, they will establish her, so Mary said she wants to run a supermarket and after everything, they handed her over to me, after that, I brought her home.
“For me, I believe the Lagos state government has really tried for this lady, for keeping her for that two weeks. Princess Aderemi, the woman that had been speaking with us, said Mary will be well taken care of, she called the police to ensure Mary's security, not for arrest at all and we concluded that and I took Mary and she is with me now. I got home and saw a different report in The Nation newspaper.
“Lagos state has been very fair to her and Princess Aderemi has been very nice. All she needs now is rehabilitation so we can inculcate good character in her. This is someone that had been on the streets. Mary was selling pure water and living under the bridge, we need to change her orientation for good."