Boat captain bags life jail over 13 deaths

A Lagos State High Court sitting in Lekki on Tuesday, sentenced a boat operator, Happiness Elebiju, to life imprisonment over the death of 13 passengers in a boat accident.

Justice Josephine Oyefeso also sentenced Elebiju to six months’ imprisonment for operating a boat without a licence.

The judge held that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Elebiju was arraigned before Justice Oyefeso on 11 counts bordering on manslaughter and operating a boat without a licence.

The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, had told the court during Elebiju’s arraignment that he was operating a boat without a licence.

Adeyemi had also told the court that the convict committed the crime on July 29, 2020, after loading his passengers from Kirikiri to Badagry.

According to her, Elebiju drove his boat, with the inscription, ‘Mount Zion Transport’ in a reckless and dangerous manner, causing the death of some of the passengers.

The convict pleaded not guilty to the charges against him as trial commenced.

The prosecution called five witnesses, who testified against the defendant.

The prosecution closed its case on February 4.

The boat accident occurred around 5.45pm on the Kirikiri waterways where the defendant’s boat, conveying 20 passengers, capsized, killing 13 persons including two children.

On March 29, Justice Oyefeso ruled that Elebiju had a case to answer after he filed a no-case submission.

The judge said, “I have considered the totality of the evidence deduced and I find that there are many questions begging for answers. The defendant indeed does have a case to answer.”

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