Mary Daniel, the amputee hawker who has recently been accused of not being completely truthful about her condition, has apologized to Nigerians.
The 27-year-old single mother received N25million donations from Nigerians who were moved by claims that she lost her leg in an accident that claimed the life of all passengers, including her parents.
However, it’s been claimed that there was no accident and she was amputated “from birth”, a claim she denies. It was also reported that her father is still alive.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, Mary said she made a mistake by saying her father was dead, but she did so because the man abandoned her.
Mary denied claims that her presence in Oshodi was staged to garner sympathy.
She said she’s been hawking for a while to make ends meet.
She explained that she used to hawk in Onitsha, Anambra state, from where she moved to Asaba in Delta state and then to Lagos.
She also denied claims that she had been receiving strange calls from the people who staged her story as they want their share of her fortune.
She told SaharaReporters that it was her maternal grandmother who had been making the calls to demand for money even after she sent her N200, 000.
As for lying about being in an accident, she claimed there was nothing to lie about as it’s obvious she is an amputee who lost a leg.
She said: "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 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 the publication that Mary Daniel 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.