Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the Lagos State High Court in Lekki has sentenced a boat operator, Happiness Elebiju, to life imprisonment over the death of 13 passengers.
Elebiju was sentenced for operating a boat without a licence after the prosecution’s case was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Elebiju was charged with 11 counts that included manslaughter and operating a boat without a license.
The boat mishap occurred around 5:45pm on July 29, 2020 on the Kirikiri waterways in Lagos when the defendant’s boat conveying 20 passengers capsized, killing 13 persons including two children.
Elebiju pleaded not guilty at his arraignment by the Lagos State Government in 2020.
The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, 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.
The prosecution called five witnesses, who testified against the defendant.
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.”