Monday this week was another day rival gangs in Mushin, Lagos, Nigeria, clashed. The clash resulted in wanton destruction of lives and property.

Monday’s crisis was the climax of a weeklong clashes between the gangs. According to an eye witness, the combatants were in possession of guns which they used without inhibitions. The crisis often escalated at night. And according to residents of Mushin, they could not sleep and they had to embark on a self-imposed curfew from 7 p.m. Traders had to shut their shops and flee for their lives.

Mushin in particular among all communities in Lagos has become a theatre of war. Often we have heard of mayhem during which people lost their lives and property. It is often reported that the crises are sparked off by various factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, seeking the control of turfs within a community.

The contest for turf control is not usually settled in a civilised manner. The gangs only understand the language of the gun, machete and other dangerous weapons. It is with these weapons that they engage in orgies of bloodletting and destruction of property.

Sadly, the kingpins of these gangs are well known. And we don’t get to hear much about their arrests let alone their prosecution. There is even the allegation that some police officers are on the payroll of these gang lords. This probably explains the hesitation to bring these miscreants to book. We dare the police and other security agencies to arrest these gang leaders and make them face the full wrath of the law if the endless clashes are to be brought to an end.

These thugs are usually ready tools in the hands of politicians to cause mayhem during elections. For a token, these thugs are ready to kill and destroy property to protect the interest of the politicians who want to get into elected offices by all means.

The excesses of the miscreants must be checked as we approach another election year. The authorities owe the citizens a duty of care. And they must protect the citizens from these unscrupulous elements who cause trouble in our society.