The Serving Overseer, Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has said the efforts of the South-west governors over the region's security outfit, codenamed 'Operation Amotekun' were commendable.
Bakare also said the raging debate over Operation Amotekun is a reminder that Nigeria has yet to address its foundation issues.
In an address titled, "No amount of ringworm medicine can cure leprosy," which he delivered in his church yesterday, Bakare said the debate on Operation Amotekun showed that the nation could not sweep the foundation issues under the carpet unaddressed or run away from them.
Rather, the cleric said the way forward for the nation was "to travel downwards to revisit the constitutional foundations."
He said, "When one considers the argument for and against Amotekun, one will find a recurring reference to the issues which we, as a nation, have failed to deal with in past decades.
"The proponents of Amotekun, particularly in the South, justify the move by referencing the Sharia police or Hisbah as a northern version of regional policing. The opponents, on the other hand, particularly from the North, express fears of possible regional political motivations.
"These are clear indications that the issues we swept under the carpet in past decades are still staring us in the face. We cannot continue to hide under the umbrella of one finger. It is time to address the underlying issues of nationhood and reset Nigeria on the path to predictable progress. No amount of ringworm medicine can cure leprosy."
Bakare said while it was good that the South-west governors and the federal government had ironed out their differences over Operation Amotekun, the South-west states would do well to give legal backing to Operation Amotekun, by enacting the appropriate laws.
He said such laws should address "recruitment, screening, training and deployment procedures, as well as seamless tactical operations between the outfit on the one hand, and the conventional federal police commissions in the South-West states on the other hand".
He, however, said the nation must capitalise on the Operation Amotekun debate to address its nagging foundation issue.
Bakare said, "The agreement between the federal government and the South-west governors notwithstanding, we must not let this moment pass by without once again telling ourselves some home truths regarding the underlying issues of constitutional federalism that have continued to confront us.
"We must not lose sight of the main issue in the Operation Amotekun debate, which is that the current mono-level security architecture has proved inadequate to combat the security challenges that confront not just the South-West but every zone in our nation - security challenges such as kidnapping, herdsmen attacks, cattle rustling, terrorism and the porosity of our borders."
"We must not forget that, while the debate over the legality or otherwise of regional security efforts like Amotekun were raging during the past week, Nigeria was, once again, plunged into mourning with the murder of a Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Lawan Andimi, by regional terrorists.
"We must not forget the fact that tens of thousands have lost their lives to criminal elements who have taken advantage of the national security gaps in the respective zones of our federation. This is why I believe that, even though the efforts of the South-West governors towards taking responsibility for the security of the zone are commendable, our nation needs a more strategically effective approach to national, regional and local security."