As Nigerians continue to sympathize with the Family of Late Maj.-Gen. J. O. Irefin, more fact has emerged over the cause of his death.
The Nigeria Army has come up to release the cause of his death among many others circumstance by his community.
The Nigeria Army, in a statement by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sagir Musa, said the late GOC died of respiratory failure.
They called on the authorities to investigate the general’s death, saying COVID-19 couldn’t have killed Irefin within such a short period.
They also questioned the army over its “haste in the burial” of Irefin.
A statement on Sunday by spokesman Aminu A. A. said: “On behalf of Olu of Ayetoro Gbede, Oba D. S. Ehindero, Ayetoro Development Association and Ayetoro Gbede Traditional Council, I wish to express our deep sorrow over the sudden death of Gen. Irefin, which occurred on December 10.
“According to Shakespeare, ‘death is a necessary end, will come when it will come’. The sequence of events before the death of Gen. Irefin and the main cause of his sudden death as propounded by the military authorities, which they claimed is COVID-19, made the highest decision making organs of the 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.
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“We should not forget that Gen. Irefin was in Ayetoro-Gbede two weeks ago for the funeral of his mother. During the brief period of his stay at home, he was full of life, and observers would agree that every movement of him was with military precision. Suddenly, a signal came to him from Abuja to attend the Chief of Army Staff Conference, which started on December 7.
We did not hear of his illness until the sad news came to us on December 10 that the General died of COVID -19; and the sudden rush for his burial on December 12.
“As the mouthpiece of Ayetoro-Gbede community, the Ayetoro Gbede Traditional Council and Ayetoro Gbede Development Association are not happy with the military establishment over the reason it claimed was responsible for the death of Gen. Irefin for the following reasons: If the incubation period of COVID–19 is two weeks after which the victim will start to show symptoms such as high fever, severe headache etc, is that the case for the late Gen. Irefin?
“Even if the symptoms mentioned above manifested in the General, does it also kill the victim instantly?
“At the advanced age of 80, the former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, the late Abba Kyari, battled COVID-19 for weeks before he died. Common logic should tell us that Gen. Irefin at a younger age, even if it is true that he contracted COVID -19, should be able to battle it for a longer period.
“Except there is COVID-20, which we doubt, COVID-19 does not kill its victims in 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, Gen. Irefin.”
The Nigeria Army Statement
“The sudden death of Maj General JO Irefin is no doubt a great loss to the Nigerian Army (NA), his family and the country at large,” Musa said in a statement.
“In view of the fake news, unnecessary and wicked insinuations that started emanating from unknown group or individuals, the NA wishes to inform members of the public the sequence of events that led to the death of the late senior officer.
“Recall that the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference 2020, started on 7 December 2020 following the virtual declaration by President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for its commencement. The participants who were mostly Principal Staff Officers, General Officers Commanding (GOCs), Corps Commanders, Commandants of NA schools, Directors and other invited dignitaries assembled in Giri venue of the first phase of the conference during which Mr President virtually commissioned the NA Cyber Warfare Command Headquarters among other vital projects.
“Among the attendees was Maj Gen JO Irefin the erstwhile GOC 6 Division NA. While at Giri, the General started complaining of discomfort. Despite the discomfort, he was at phase 2 in life camp for the commissioning of Housing Scheme for families of officers and soldiers killed in action from where he left the venue for his accommodation.
He was later taken to Defence Medical Centre same day at about 2125 hours having complained of fever, headache and mild cough. Medical history revealed that he was treated for malaria with parenteral artemether a week ago at 6 Division Medical Services and Hospital Port Harcourt where he was the GOC. He had fever but oxygen saturation was normal at 99%. Other vital signs were essentially stable on presentation. A working diagnosis of drug resistant malaria to rule out lobar pneumonia and COVID 19 infection was made. He was also placed on cefriaxone and COVID 19 test was requested.”
Musa also narrated the events that transpired before Irefin’s sample was taken for COVID-19 test.
He said the deceased received adequate medical attention before he died.
“Consequently, in the morning of 8 December 2020, the fever and cough have subsided and he was eating well. On the same day (8 December 2020), he was discharged after his sample for COVID 19 test had been taken and was requested to self isolate pending the out come of the test. On 9 December 2020, the result of the COVID 19 test conducted on him was positive,” he said.
“As a result, he was taken to 063 Nigerian Airforce Hospital Abuja where his SpO saturation was noted to be well reduced to between 55 – 60%. He was then immediately taken to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja by the Commander 063 NAF Hospital for further management. At the hospital, he was immediately admitted and placed on high flow oxygen.
“An initial improvement of 80 – 82% oxygen saturation was noticed. He was then commenced on Anti viral agent remdesivir based on the COVID 19 test result. Other treatment included the usual COVID 19 treatment cocktail.
Unfortunately, despite these efforts, at about 0510 hours on Thursday 10th of December 2020, the Commander 063 NAF Hospital Abuja was informed that the senior officer desaturated again and eventually died. The cause of his death was reported as respirotary failure secondary to the complications of COVID 19 infection.”