The Joint Military Task Force, code named Operation Delta Safe (ODS), has detained a surveillance contractor, Clinton Leadus, over alleged complicity in the canalisation of a 14-inch oil pipeline belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Ekerama community of Okordia clan in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
Leadus’ family and some civil rights organisations in the area, led by the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), claim that the alleged complicity and arrest of Clinton was orchestrated by persons interested in taking over the oil pipeline surveillance job.
Some civil rights organisations have questioned the authorities of the Operation Delta Safe on the claim that other arrested persons were released, but Leadus is still in detention and has been denied access to his wife, Oby, as well as his lawyers in the last 12 days.
The family described his prolonged detention as “suspicious”, saying "they should give us proof of life and allow an innocent man access to his family and lawyers; except they are involved in the cover up. We are afraid that the military may kill him”.
The Military Task Force declined comments on Leadus’ arrest, which was allegedly ordered by Rear Admiral A.O. Suleiman.
It was gathered that Leadus had reported to the monitoring unit of the Criminal Investigation Department of the State Police Command over the vandalised oil pipeline under his watch, and some suspects were arrested. He was also said to have notified the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and was cleared.
Confirming the arrest in a petition filed before Operation Delta Safe, Rex Bribena Ekpi, a legal practitioner with Magna-Pax Law partners, said Leadus was arrested and had not be allowed access to his family.
"My petition dated 23rd of August, 2018, notified the Joint Military Task Force that the arrest and detention of my client is a violation of his fundamental human rights. And we demanded his release within 24 hours," he said.
His wife, Oby, who also confirmed the development said though she had visited the Igbogene headquarters of the Operation Delta Safe severally, "their silence and refusal to allow access to my husband makes it worse and I fear for his safety. This is a case of conspiracy to take over his job as surveillance contractor. They should release my husband or let me see him alive”.
When contacted on the development, the spokesperson of the ODS, Major Abubakar Abdullahi, said he would confirm if the surveillance contractor was in their custody. However, as of the time of this report, he was yet to respond.