Justice Josephine Oyefeso of an Ikeja High Court has said that a boat captain, Happiness Elebiju, has a case to answer over the death of 13 passengers in a boat mishap that occurred on July 29, 2020 on the Kirikiri waterways in Lagos.
Delivering a ruling in the no-case submission filed by the defendant, Justice Oyefeso 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. I overrule the no-case submission and call on the defendant to open his case.”
Following the ruling, the judge adjourned the case untill April 14 for continuation of trial.
Elebiju faces an eleven-count charge of manslaughter and operating without a license.
Five prosecution witnesses have testified during the trial and prosecution had closed its case on Feb 4.
The boat mishap allegedly occurred at 5.45pm on July 29, 2020 on the Kirikiri waterways, Lagos when the defendant’s boat conveying 20 passengers capsized, killing 13 persons including two children.
According to the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, Elebiju drove his boat, with the inscription “Mount Zion Transport” in a reckless and dangerous manner causing the death of some of the passengers.
Elebiju who was scheduled to open his defence on March 18, had on that day, filed a no-case submission through his counsel, Mr Samuel Ogungbamila.
Ogungbamila had the court to discharge the defendant noting that the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case against his client.
The DPP had however, vehemently opposed the defendant’s application.