By Moji Eniola
A boat captain, Happiness Elebiju, accused of manslaughter over the death of 13 passengers in a boat mishap, has filed a no-case submission before an Ikeja High Court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Elebiju, who was slated to open his defence on Thursday, made the submission through his counsel, Mr Samuel Ogungbamila.
Ogungbamila told the court that Lagos State Government, prosecuting the case, had served him its reply to the application.
“We have also filed a written address, and we adopt the entire application as our argument in the matter,” he said.
Defence counsel, therefore, told the court to discharge the defendant, arguing that prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him.
Responding, Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the court that prosecution had also filed a response to the no-case submission, dated March 3.
She urged the court to hold that the defendant had a case to answer, going by evidence presented before the court by prosecution.
Justice Josephine Oyefeso adjourned the case until March 29 for ruling on the no-case submission.
NAN reports that the boat mishap occurred at 5.45 p.m. on July 29, 2020, on the Kirikiri Waterways, Lagos.
The defendant’s boat, which was conveying 20 passengers, capsized, killing 13 persons, including two children.
He was subsequently charged with eleven counts of manslaughter, to which he plead not guilty.
Prosecution alleges that Elebiju drove his boat, with the inscription: ‘Mount Zion Transport’, in a reckless and dangerous manner, causing the death of some of the passengers.
It closed its case on Feb. 4 after calling four witnesses, including survivors of the boat mishap.
The alleged offences contravene Section 224 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015, and punishable under Section 229 of the law. (NAN)