There is a new twist to the ongoing trial and detention of the former Bayelsa security adviser, Chief Perekeme Richard Kpodoh, over alleged rape of a 28-year-old in the state.
The trial, which is presently stalled with the application from the counsels to Chief Perekeme Kpodoh seeking for the transfer of the case from Justice E. Eradiri, has witnessed the refusal of the court to grant him bail as required by law based on ill health.
But the counsels to the accused have also approached the court of appeal seeking for bail to be granted the accused.
Investigations by some groups showed that the claims that the trial of Chief Perekeme Kpodoh was political and sponsored by senior officials of Bayelsa state government is having credence with the recent recorded conversation between one of Justice Eradiri’s clerk and a member of the Niger Delta Youths Advocate for Justice and Peace.
According to the group, though the identity of the court clerk is being protected, the conversation showed that the senior government official hijacked the case withdrawn from Ekeki police station by the alleged rape victim and started prosecution due to the public criticism of his administration by Chief Perekeme Kpodoh.
Listening to the recorded conversation between the member of the group and the anonymous court clerk, the trial judge, Justice E. Eradiri, was cleverly chosen because he can be controlled and manipulated by the state government.
The court clerk in the recorded message clearly stated: “The matter is from above. There’s nothing the judge can do. Sometimes, we deliver judgment after 6pm based on directive to keep some criminals in prison custody. Even when the judge said he should be catered for and detained in the hospital, government officials said “No.”
The conversation showed clearly that the accused, Chief Perekeme Kpodoh can never get justice in Justice E. Eradiri’s court.
Inside sources in the judiciary revealed also that an unhealthy pressure is being mounted on the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Kate Abiri, to turn down the application for case transfer to another court and return the case to Justice Eradiri.
The human rights advocacy group has concluded plans to file a strong worded petition against the trial judge and the special prosecutor before the national judicial council and the Nigerian Bar Association over alleged attempt to pervert justice and continue to violate his freedom of movement.
Meanwhile, the group, the Niger Delta Youths Advocate for Justice and Peace has raised alarm over alleged plot by some officials of the state government to murder an individual in the Pererich hotels and gardens owned by the accused, Chief Perekeme Kpodoh, along Etegwe road, Tombia in Yenagoa local government area of the state.
According to the group, the alleged plot of murder at the hotel by some unnamed officials of government is to further complicate his ongoing rape trial and add a murder charge for quick indictment and lengthy incarceration.
According to the National Coordinator of the group, Barr. Bidemi Williams, preliminary investigations into the allegation showed that the state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, is unaware of the plot, “it is gathered that the plot would be used to keep Chief Kpodoh in detention for alleged rape and murder
“We, on behalf of this defenseless Bayelsan, are putting Bayelsans and the police authority on notice over the alleged plot to commit murder. We call on the general public to be wary of the activities of some officials of government in desperate attempt to indict, incarcerate and probably kill Chief Perekeme Kpodoh “