The Lagos State Government has arraigned a Boat Captain, Elebiju Happiness, over the boat mishap on Lagos Waterways around the Kirikiri area.
The trial began on Thursday before Hon. Justice Josephine Oyefeso of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja.
The defendant was charged with involuntary manslaughter and the operating of a boat without a licence.
Elebiju was arraigned by the Lagos State Government on a 10 count charge dated August 24, 2020.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Elebiju allegedly caused the death of 13 passengers in a boat mishap on the Lagos State Inland Waterways along Kirikiri after taking off from an illegal loading site with 20 passengers.
Upon capsizing, the rescue team of Lagos State Waterways Authority, Marine Police and other boat operators rescued five passengers, while the defendant (Captain of the boat) and his Deck hand boy survived.
The Director Public Prosecutions, Yinka Adeyemi, who led the prosecution, argued that the alleged offences against the Defendants were Involuntary Manslaughter contrary to Section 224 and punishable under Section 229 of the Criminal Law Ch C17, Vol. 3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015 and Operating without a license contrary to Section 311 (1) of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018.
The DPP further presented two witnesses before the court who gave evidence against the defendant.
The trial Judge, Hon. Justice Josephine Oyefeso, however, adjourned the matter September 17 for continuation of trial.
In a related development, the Lagos State Government has also commenced the prosecution of the driver and owner of a vehicle, Dominic Amaechi and Cyprian Arinze respectively, over the killing of two persons and causing bodily harm on another person.
The defendants were arraigned on September 2, 2020 before Hon. Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.
The driver of the vehicle was charged with among others driving in a dangerous and reckless manner, involuntary manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm, wilful damage to property and failure to obtain a valid driver’s licence.
The owner of the vehicle was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter as a result of refusal to ensure that his truck was roadworthy and failure to obtain vehicle licence and relevant permits.
The Defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The accident caused the death of Eno Joseph (M), Titilayo Alayonimi (F), breaking of the leg of one Alani Oladipupo (M) and also causing severe damage to the property of Saba Steel Nigeria Limited.
According to the Prosecutor, the offences were contrary to Section 224 of the Criminal Law, Laws of Lagos State 2015, Sections 18 and 51 of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018.
The case was adjourned till September 30 for trial.