President Muhammadu Buhari said that the Federal Government will not continue to watch as "miscreants and criminals" perpetrate acts of "hooliganism in the country".
The president's sentiments were expressed - during a meeting with security chiefs and former leaders - in a statement issued by the Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, stating that the protest had been hijacked "and misdirected".
Buhari was quoted to have said, "Unfortunately, the protesters refused to call off the protest and engage the government to address their grievances. Instead, they became emboldened and gradually turned violent.
Adding that the federal government will not look on as “miscreants and criminals continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism in the country."
The statement continued, "We shall also continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected. Here, I want to also reaffirm our commitment to preserving the unity of this country.
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“The President thanked the former Heads of State for attending the meeting and their invaluable comments, observations and advice, adding that ‘Nigerians expect nothing less from responsible statesmen’.
“Each of the former leaders commended President Buhari for steps taken so far to restore calm and order to the country and also applauded the presidential broadcast of Thursday as detailed and soothing to the country.
“The former heads of state were unanimous in their view that generation of employment and growing the economy, including through direct foreign investments, were critical to checking youth restiveness.
“The former heads of state also condemned the divisive and inciting pronouncements of separatists and were of the opinion that such acts should be stopped.
“Equally, the former leaders commended the actions taken by governors to address the demands of the ENDSARS protesters and their efforts to check the excesses of those who perpetrated violent acts and conduct.
“Finally, they called on youths to pursue peaceful means in seeking redress through engagement with government, and encouraged further conversation with the youths and other stakeholders in the country.”