The Lagos amputee sachet water hawker, Mary Daniels, whose story fetched her massive goodwill from Nigerians, lied to evoke sympathy, according to her aunt.
The 27-year-old lady has been in the public eye ever since she was spotted hawking sachet water in the Oshodi area of Lagos State despite her condition.
During several interviews, Daniels had claimed that her leg was amputated after a ghastly car accident which claimed the lives of her parents when she was young.
She had also alleged that the development forced her to drop out of school to enable her to provide for her baby as well as her aged grandmother.
Expectedly, many Nigerians fell for her story but unknown to them, she was not telling the truth.
Her plight had moved some Nigerians to support her through donations while the Lagos State Government offered her temporary accommodation and also received a donation of N25 million.
But The Cable reports that her name is Ojonuwa Onu, not Mary Daniels, as she claimed.
Her aunt, Blessing Adedamola, told the medium that Daniel’s claim that she has no family to cater for her was a lie.
Adedamola also explained that she was staying with Juni Abu, her grandmother, in the village when she suddenly fled from home with her whereabouts unknown thereafter.
She said prior to the incident, Abu, who is her Adedamola’s mother, had called severally to complain about Daniel’s attitude, describing her as “stubborn.”
Adedamola said she got wind of Daniel’s story while she was surfing the internet. She explained that she had thereafter confronted her to stop destroying the family’s reputation with her lies and vowed to let Nigerians know the truth.
“That day, I came online and opened my phone and saw pictures of her. I was shocked because I didn’t even know when she left Asaba for Lagos or anything like that.
“Still shocked, I went to meet my husband and I showed him ‘this is Ojonuwa.’ Her name is Ojonuwa, not the Mary Daniels she’s claiming. Her real name is Ojonuwa Onu. I think she added Onu last week in her video.
“The first week, she was bearing Mary Daniels but she now added Onu when I chatted with her. She is my friend on Facebook, where she’s bearing Mary Ojonuwa. I snapped one of these pictures (family pictures) and sent it to her and told her ‘Uwa, this is your story, this is your mother, your aunty, grandmother and family. So, how come you are saying you don’t have family and that nobody cares for you. This is the true story behind you.’
“Then I told her to stop the lies. She thereafter chatted with me asking why I sent the pictures to her. But I did not answer her. I simply told her ‘I want Nigerians to know the truth because you’re lying and you’re condemning the family by claiming nobody took care of you. We are not interested in your money but the fact that you are saying you don’t have a family. The lies are what I will not accept,” Adedamola said.
She also noted that Daniel’s claim that her parents died in an accident which occured in 2006 was a lie.
“Saying my elder sister (her mother) died in a car accident was never true. She died in 2012, one week to my graduation from the university. She also said her younger brother is in the village and that she’s the one catering for him, which is also a lie. The boy is here with my elder sister right from JSS 1 and he is in SS1 presently.
“She also said her child is with mama but that is not true. She left the child with a woman, her former neigbour in Asaba. The neighbour has relocated from Asaba to Ayingba, Kogi State,” she added.
Adedamola revealed that her niece had a similar donation of N1.7 million during her stay in Asaba but did not utilise the money properly.
“During the lockdown, I don’t know how she did it in Asaba but people would give her this and that. She got like N1.7 million or thereabout at the time. She said the boy (her boyfriend) stole N500,000 and ran away.
“So, I asked her about the remaining money because after she put to bed, I was in touch with her. She said she rented a flat herself and she took care of herself and her baby.
“So, I asked her, you went back to the streets? I told her that ‘don’t you know that when people help you and give you money…they hope to see a new development that you were able to use that money for something reasonable. But not even showing anything and going back to the streets to sell water is as if they wasted their money on you. Then she said, she was not wise,” Adedamola said.
Abu, Daniel’s grandmother, also confirmed that she actually fled from home.
“I am the grandmother to Ojonuwa. Her mother was my first child whom I had on April 18, 1973. She’s my granddaughter,” Abu said.