Nigerian Army has warned kinsmen of the late General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Major-General Olubunmi Irefin, to refrain from purveying fake news on the actual cause of his death.

Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Sagir Musa, in a statement, said the sudden death of Irefin was a great loss to the Nigerian Army, his family and the country at large.

He lamented that in view of the fake news, unnecessary and wicked insinuations that started emanating from unknown groups or individuals, the army wishes to inform members of the public of the sequence of events that led to the death of the late senior officer.

He recalled that the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference 2020 started on December 7, following the virtual declaration by the president for its commencement with participants, mostly principal staff officers, General Officers Commanding, GOCs, corps commanders, commandants of army schools, directors, and other invited dignitaries assembling at the Giri venue of the first phase of the conference during which Mr. President virtually commissioned the Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command Headquarters among other vital projects.

“Among the attendees was Major-General JO Irefin, the erstwhile GOC, 6 Division, while at Giri, he started complaining of discomfort. Despite the discomfort, he was at phase 2 in Life Camp for the commissioning of a 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 the Defence Medical Centre the same day at about 21:25 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 a fever but oxygen saturation was normal at 99 per cent. 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 ceftriaxone and the COVID-19 test was requested.

“Consequently, on the morning of December 8, the fever and cough subsided, and he was eating well. On the same day, he was discharged after his sample for the COVID-19 test had been taken and was requested to self-isolate pending the outcome of the test.

“On December 9, the result of the COVID-19 test conducted on him was positive. As a result, he was taken to 063 Nigerian Air Force Hospital Abuja where his SpO saturation was noted to be well reduced to between 55–60 percent. 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 to 82 percent oxygen saturation was noticed. He then commenced an anti-viral agent drug, remdesivir based on the COVID-19 test result. Other treatments include the usual COVID-19 cocktail.

“Unfortunately, despite these efforts, at about 0510 hours on Thursday, December 10, 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 respiratory failure secondary to the complications of COVID-19 infection,” the army leadership explained.

Musa said this explanation was essential in order to ward off mischievous and wicked insinuations from certain quarters alluding unwholesome act as responsible for the death of the respected senior officer.

It would be recalled that Aiyetoro-Gbede people in Kogi State in a statement signed by AA Aminu on behalf of the Olu of Ayetoro Gdede, D.S Ehindero, Ayetoro Development Association, and Ayetoro Gbede Traditional Council, had rejected the claim by military authorities that their kinsman, the late Irefin, died of COVID-19 related complications and vowed to investigate the real cause of his death.


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