By James Ogunnaike
The Bishop of the Diocese Ijebu South-west, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Rt. Rev. Babatunde Ogunbanwo has warned the southwest governors not to allow “sycophants” hijack the operation of the recently launched Western Nigeria Security Network code-named “Operation Amotekun”,
The cleric, who lauded the governors for mooting and implementing the idea, which according to him would address the security challenges in the region, equally urged the governors to ensure the security outfit is properly structured and funded.
The Bishop gave the warning on Monday while expressing his views on the state of the nation in the 10th-anniversary address of the Ijebu South-west Diocese, held at the Bishop’s Court, Odogbolu, Ogun State.
Rt. Rev. Ogunbanwo explained that the security initiative would not only further integrate the region but enhance the security arrangement, noting that Operation Amotekun remained one initiative that had brought the southwest governors together in unity in a long time.
“Let me at this junction appreciate the governors of the southwest for putting in place operation Amotekun. We thank them for coming together at least for the first time they are doing something together”.
“We need to commend them again because the people of the Eastern and Northern parts of the country want to copy us now”.
‘I commend sincerely all our governors in the Southwest, but I am warning them that they should not allow sycophants to take over Amotekun from them”.
“We know a lot of those sycophants in the past that have not done anything. The governors should be aware of sycophants who are just there to eat, to take over operation Amotekun”.
While saying that the operation of the regional security outfit should be coordinated by the police and supported by other security agencies, the cleric cautioned that members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and other untrained militia organizations should not be allowed to be part of operation Amotekun.
“I also want to advise them those who will work in the security outfit should work with the police. There should not be disparity, they should work together with security outfits such army in achieving the essence of the operation Amotekun”.
“I will not subscribe to the incorporation of OPC and the likes in Amotekun. What have these set of people done in the past? They are just there and making ‘shakara’ all around. How many of them have gone to the bush to rescue our people that are being kidnapped”.
“All you will see many of them doing is attending government function, you will see them carrying staff and cars all around looking for recognition”.
Security men suppose to be in the bush or in the gate, not at government functions”.
“Let Amotekun stand clear if they want. They should let Amotekun be a different outfit and let see what they are doing. I believe in statistics, let’s make statistics on what they will achieve and after one year, we can sit down and review it”, he said.
“If anybody want to join Amotekun, let them apply and proper interview should be dine to them”.
He emphasised that the outfit must be professionally organised and structured to meet up with contemporary security challenges, declaring “anyone who wishes to join Amotekun should apply formally and be properly scrutinised”,
Ogunbanwo, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the regional security outfit operate within the ambit of the law, to complement the efforts of the conventional security agencies in tackling insecurity the southwest.
He further argued that each region should allowed to set up its security network to fight against local and external crimes.
Highlighting the achievements of the Diocese of Ijebu South-west in the last ten years, the Bishop said 13 churches had been established, while the number of clergy hard increased from 30 in 2010 to 55. He added that the Diocese established a water factory, constructed a conference centre, established a farm among other physical projects.