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The Aiyetoro-Gbede people in Kogi State have rejected the claims by the military authorities that their kinsman, the late Major General John Olubunmi Irefin, died of COVID-19-related complications.
They have therefore vowed to investigate the real cause of his death.
Their rejection was contained in a statement signed on behalf of the Ayetoro-Gbede Traditional Council and the Ayetoro Development Association on Saturday by Chief A.A. Aminu
Aminu said he issued the statement on behalf of the Olu of Ayetoro Gbede, Oba D.S Ehindero, the Ayetoro Development Association, and the Ayetoro Gbede Traditional Council.
The late general was pronounced dead by the military authorities on December 10, 2020, as a result of COVID-19.
His kinsmen however said the circumstances which surrounded his sudden death was suspicious.
The statement read in part, “The sequence of events before the death of General Irefin and the main cause of his sudden death as propounded by the military authority, which they claimed was COVID-19 made the highest decision organs of Ayetoro-Gbede community namely, Ayetoro-Gbede Traditional Council and Ayetoro-Gbede Development Association to interrogate the main cause of his death as propounded by the military authority.
“We should not forget that General Olubunmi Irefin was in Ayetoro Gbede two weeks ago for the burial ceremony of his late mother.
“During the brief period of his stay at home, he was full of life, and, observers of the general will agree that every movement of his, was with military precision.
“Suddenly, a signal came to him from Abuja to attend Chief of Army Staff Conference which started last Monday (December 7, 2020).
“We did not hear of his sickness until the sad news came to us yesterday, 10th December, 2020 that the General died of Covid -19; and the sudden rush for his burial tomorrow (Sunday) 13th December, 2020.
“The mouthpiece of Ayetoro-Gbede community namely, Ayetoro-Gbede Traditional Council and Ayetoro-Gbede Development Association were not happy with the military establishment over the reason it claimed was responsible for the death of General Olubunmi Irefin for the following reasons:
“If the incubation period of COVID-19 is two weeks after which the victim will start to show symptoms like high fever, severe headache etc, is that the case for late General Olubunmi Irefin?
“Even if the symptoms mentioned above manifest in the general, does it also kill it victim instantly?
At an advance age of 80 years, the former Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the late Abba Kyari, battled COVID-19 for weeks before he died.
“Common logic should tell us that General Irefin at younger age, even if it is true that he contracted COVID -19 should be able to battle it for a longer period of time.
“Except there is C0VID-20 which we doubt, COVID-19 does not kill its victims within three days.
“Why the sudden haste in the burial of the general by the military authority?
“Not until convincing answers are provided by the military authority for the above questions, the Ayetoro-Gbede community will not be happy with the military establishment over the reason they claimed was responsible for the death of our son, General Olu Irefin.”
NewsWireNGR reports that the Late Irefin was among the top military officers comprising principal staff officers, GOCs, commandants of army schools, commanders of army operations and the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi that participated in the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference 2020, in Abuja, which was abruptly cancelled when it was discovered that one of those in attendance had contracted COVID-19.
At least 18 Nigerian Army generals have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), military sources told Channels Television on Sunday.
According to Channels, the infected military officers were said to have had contact with late Major General Olu Irefin.