The Head of Operation of the Lagos State Waterways Authority, Ibrahim Famuyiwa, on Friday narrated to the state High Court in Ikeja that the boat that caused the death of 12 passengers while conveying them to their destination operated from an illegal jetty.
It was earlier reported how the victims were said to have drowned after the wave of a ship sailing along the Kirikiri waterfront made the boat to capsize.
It was gathered that 20 passengers boarded the boat from Kirikiri to Badagry, but while on the way, the passengers disagreed with the captain when he indicated that the fare was N1,500, and they insisted on paying N1,200.
The boat captain, Happiness Elebiju, was said to have allegedly switched off the engine of the craft by the waterfront because of the N300 difference in fare and the wave made the boat to drift towards a stationary barge, where it capsized and 12 passengers drowned.
Elebiju had been arraigned on 10 counts bordering on manslaughter before Justice Josephine Oyefeso.
However, during Friday’s proceedings, the Director of Public Prosecution, Olayinka Adeyemi, informed the court of amended information and Elejibu was re-arraigned on 11 counts bordering on manslaughter.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Famuyiwa, while being led in evidence by Adeyemi, told the court that approved jetties across the state have safety measures where passengers would be ensured they wear safety jackets before boarding.
He said, “The boat that capsized operated from an illegal jetty. Approved jetty have safety measures across the state where passengers will ensure that they wear safety jacket before boarding to sail and coordinating the passenger capacity of every boat to avert an accident. The operator and captain of the capsized boat operated against the state-practice direction.”
Famuyiwa during cross-examination by the defence counsel, Ganiyu Oyarevuegbe, said LASWA could not ascertain the operator’s competence to run a boat since it was not registered with the agency.
Another prosecution witness, LASWA water guard supervisor, Adisa Ahmed, told the court that water guard personnel are available at every approved jetty in the state to ensure safety.
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