Court sentences boat captain to life imprisonment for manslaughter
Justice Josephine Oyefeso of a Lagos High Court, sitting in Eti-Osa, has sentenced a boat captain, Happiness Elebiju, to life imprisonment for manslaughter and six months imprisonment for operating a boat without licence.
The judge, who held that the prosecution has successfully proven the charge against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, convicted and sentenced him accordingly.
Elebiju was the captain of the boat that capsized and killed 13 passengers due to overcrowding and illegal activities at Ilashe waterfront on July 29, 2020.
The defendant committed the offence after loading its passengers from Kirikiri heading to Badagry.
He was thereafter arraigned before Justice Oyefeso on an 11count-charge, bordering on involuntary manslaughter, operating jetty without licence brought against him by the Lagos State government.
He pleaded not guilty to all the counts charge. The prosecution called five witnesses, who testified against the defendant.
The victims were said to have drowned after the wave of a ship sailing along the Kirikiri waterfront made the boat to capsize, after she switched off during an argument between Elebiju and his passengers over the fare, to capsize.
The convict had 20 passengers on board from Kirikiri to Badagry, but while on the way, the passengers disagreed with Elebiju when he indicated that the fare was N1,500 and they insisted on paying N1, 200.
The captain allegedly switched off the engine of the boat by the waterfront because of the N300 difference.
However, when the ship sailed along, the wave made the boat to drift towards a stationary barge, where it capsized and the passengers drowned.