Bimbo Elebiju, a commercial boat operator, has been arrested over the death of 12 passengers in Lagos.
Hakeem Odumosu, Commissioner of Police, said on Tuesday while parading Elebiju, said the boat helmsman had turned off the engine of his boat while arguing with them over a N300 difference in the fare before waves from a ship sailing by pushed the boat towards a barge.
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Elebiju was said to have swam away, abandoning his 20 passengers.
He said the passengers, sailing from Kirikiri to Badagry, had insisted on paying N1,200 instead of the N1,500 Elebiju demanded.
While five passengers were rescued, Odumosu said 12 others drowned and three are still missing, adding that the rescued passengers gave an account of Bimbo’s action before the tragedy struck.
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“On July 29, 2020, around 5.45pm, our marine operatives received a distress call that a commercial boat with the inscription: ‘Mount Zion Transport’, fitted with 150HP Yamaha outboard engine, which was conveying 20 passengers from Kirikiri to Badagry, drifted towards a stationary barge and capsized along the Kirikiri waterfront.
“Five passengers were rescued, while 12 corpses were recovered. Three people are still missing. The helmsman, Bimbo Elebiju, swam to safety. Investigation revealed that the accident was caused by the deliberate act of the helmsman. There was an argument between the deckhand and the passengers as to the transport fare.
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“Bimbo insisted on N1,500 per passenger and the passengers said they would only pay N1,200 each. Because of the N300 difference, the helmsman turned off the engine on a turbulent waterfront. A big ship passed and stirred the water, creating a wave that made the boat to drift towards the stationary barge. The suspect was trailed to his hideout and arrested after the survivors of the accident gave the true account of what happened. He will be charged,” said Odumosu.