Aiyetoro-Gbede people in Kogi State have rejected the claim by military authorities that their kinsman, the late Major-General Olubunmi Irefin, died of COVID-19-related complications and vowed to investigate the real cause of his death.
Their rejection was contained in a statement signed by Chief A.A. Aminu on Saturday on behalf of Ayetoro-Gbede Traditional Council and Ayetoro Development Association.
When contacted, Senator Dino Melaye, who is from the town, confirmed the authenticity of the press statement.
Aminu said he issued the statement on behalf of the Olu of Ayetoro Gbede, D.S Ehindero, Ayetoro Development Association and Ayetoro Gbede Traditional Council.
The late General was pronounced dead by military authorities on December 10 as a result of COVID-19.
His kinsmen, however, said the circumstances which surrounded his sudden death was suspicious.
The statement reads 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 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).
“We did not hear of his sickness until the sad news came to us yesterday, December 10 that the General died of COVID-19 and the sudden rush for his burial tomorrow (Sunday) December 12.
“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 Irefin for the following reasons: If the incubation period of COVID-19 is two weeks after which the victim will start showing symptoms like high fever, severe headache, etc, is that the case for the late General?
“Even if the symptoms mentioned above manifested in the General, does it also kill its victim instantly?
“At an advance age of 80, the former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, battled COVID-19 for weeks before he died.
“Common logic should tell us that General 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 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 on the above questions, Ayetoro-Gbede community will not be happy with the military establishment over the reason they claimed was responsible for the death of our son.”
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