Justice Iniekadi Eradiri, of the Bayelsa State High Court on Monday disqualified himself from the trial of Chief Richard Kpodo, a former aide to ex-Gov. Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State.
Kpodo who is standing trial for the alleged rape of a 26-year female cashier, appealed Justice Eradiri’s ruling declining to disqualify himself from hearing the case.
He then petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) accusing the judge of bias.
Kpodo’s counsel, Julius Iyekoroghe, had on Dec. 21, 2018, approached Eradiri with a motion on notice, urging him to disqualify himself.
Eradiri however, referred the application to Chief Judge of Bayelsa.
Justice Kate Abiri, Chief Judge of Bayelsa, subsequently declined an application to hand the rape trial to another judge.
The defence counsel alleged that the judge showed bias in the case by refusing to grant bail to the defendant.
Ruling on the petition on Monday, Eradiri, said that he was constrained to hand off the case to pave the way for the investigation by the NJC.
"I feel strongly that I should no longer continue with the case , since the petition against me before the National Judicial Council is being investigated.
"I will therefore hand over the case file to the Honourable Chief Judge," Eradiri said.
It will be recalled that Kpodo, who was earlier denied bail by Eradiri appealed the decision at the Appeal Court and was released from prison custody at Okaka Prisons Yenagoa, where he was held from July 2018 till April 2019 having met the bail conditions.