The warning came on the heels of the breaking and looting of some warehouses on Saturday in Benin, the Edo State capital in the guise of #EndSARS protests.
Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone 5, Shola David, warned lawbreakers to stay off the streets of Edo and Delta states.
But, he urged law-abiding citizens to go about their legitimate businesses.
Briefing journalists shortly before a Strategic Management Meeting, David assured residents of the two states that the Police were resolved to restore public confidence in their capabilities to secure and protect them.
He appealed to the media to ensure accurate reportage of the incidents in order to eliminate ate the incidence of fake news, which, according to him, was worsening the crisis.
He said that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had directed the police to occupy all their areas of operation to provide security.
According to him, “The IGP however warns trouble-makers not to test the collective will of the nation by coming out to cause any further breakdown of law and order.
“To this end, I appeal to the law abiding citizens of Edo and Delta states to go about their lawful businesses that the Police will do all within their statutory powers to ensure protection of lives and property.
“Therefore, I advise parents and guardians to warn their children and wards to eschew crimes and criminality and avoid the temptation of joining criminal elements in perpetuating violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property.”
The Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Babatunde Johnson Kokumo, said several arrests of the hoodlums had been made.
He said the attacks on warehouses on Saturday were indications that the protesters were now hoodlums and arsonists.
According to him, “any of them caught would be treated as hoodlims and arsonists.
“Three police stations were razed, some police vehicles were also burnt in so many cases, exhibit vehicles were also burnt. But we thank God there have not been any casualty of death of police personnel.
“We have made a number of arrests and we are still out to make more arrests, arrests of hoodlums, not protesters, so those who have attacked police formations; those who have set police stations on fire; those who set police patrol vehicles on fire, exhibit vehicles on fire; those who have physically assaulted police officers will not be treated as protesters but hoodlums and we are still on their trail.”