MEMBERS of the Aiyetoro-Gbede community in Kogi State have rejected the claim that their kinsman Major General John Olu Irefin died from Covid-19 pointing out that he was a healthy man and was most likely murdered by unknown persons.
Last week, Major General Irefin, the general officer commanding the Sixth mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, died while attending a military conference in Abuja. According to the Nigerian Army, he died of coronavirus complications and as a precaution, the annual chief of army staff conference he was attending was cancelled.
However, Mr AA Aminu, a spokesman of the Ayetoro Development Association, called on the authorities to investigate the general’s death, saying they suspected he was murdered. One military source also added that it was difficult to accept that the general died from Covid-19 as he was healthy when he was spotted at the conference.
He added: “As the protocol demands, every officer and participant was screened before entering the conference. If Irefin had been battling with Covid-19, I suppose the symptoms would have been there as his death happened almost immediately.
“He was very active and there was no sign he had a fever. It was shocking when the news of his death came.”
Mr Aminu added that Covid-19 could not have killed the general within such a short period and he also questioned the army over its haste to bury Major General Irefin. He added that the Ayetoro-Gbede community will remain in doubt until convincing answers are provided by the military authorities.
“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 will agree that every movement of his was with military precision.
“Suddenly, a signal came to him from Abuja to attend the 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 on December 10 that the general died of Covid -19 and the sudden rush for his burial on December 12 2020.
“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 its victim instantly?”
“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 Covid-20 which we doubt, Covid-19 does not kill its victims within three days,” Mr Aminu added.