By Adejumo Enock
Late Major Gen. Olubunmi Irefi from Okun community Kogi state, has been linked to the massacre of outlawed IPOB members in Oyigbo Rivers State which is also known as Obigbo.
Late Irefin died on Friday in Abuja out of medical complications linked to Corona Virus.
Oyigbo (also Obigbo) is a town 30 kilometers from the port city of Port Harcourt and a Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. It is a satellite town of Port Harcourt.
A source that does not want his name mentioned alleged that Major General Irefin who until his death was the General Officer Commanding 6th Division Port Harcourt, was directed by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike to massacre IPOB members in Oyigbo.
He further stated that his death was a vengeance from God for the killing of innocent members of the sect.
He said, “General Officer Commanding (Goc）6 Division , Port-Harcourt, Major Gen Olubunmi Irefin, whom Nwike ordered to command the Killings at Obi-Igbo is dead.
Vengeance, vengeance, vengeance. God of Karma never sleeps”.
Also in his comment, Nelson Row said, “Am not saying anything than let God fight for the innocent Igbo blood waisted by Wike, his cohorts and everyone involved in the massacre in Obigbo”.
However, there have been claims that the crisis in Rivers is largely between men of the Nigerian Army and members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
IPOB members in the state were said to have played a role in the violence that engulfed the state during the recent EndSARS protest, as they allegedly killed soldiers, police officers and burnt police stations.
On Friday, October 30, 2020, Governor Wike accused IPOB members of killing six soldiers and four police officers during the EndSARS protest in the state.
The governor said the protest against police brutality was peaceful until IPOB members took the laws into their hands.
He said, “I don’t support criminality. IPOB killed six army officers, four policemen, burnt police stations and court buildings.”
Premium Times had in an earlier report, described what happened in Obi Igbo as the moving story of how the Nigerian Army inflicted war-grade assault on the Oyigbo community in Rivers, killing many residents, and injuring many others, another case of gross human rights violations.
The media organisation reported that the killer soldiers launched out on a vengeful mission after mobs, whom the authorities alleged were members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), an Igbo separatist group, killed some security personnel.
I went further to state that as fully-loaded military trucks rolled into the town, soldiers, armed to the teeth, jumped down in combat fashion, then took strategic positions on the streets of Oyigbo, also called Obigbo and began the carnage.
The official narrative provided by authorities was that the troops were deployed to the town to fish out separatists who murdered soldiers and police officers. Authorities also said the soldiers were there to recover stolen arms.
The soldiers took vengeance on defenceless people in what ranks among the cruellest use of excessive force against unarmed civilians in the country’s history. The carnage at Oyigbo is comparable, in its execution, to the massacres in Odi (1999) and Zaki Biam (2001), under former President Olusegun Obasanjo; and Zaria(2015), under incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. Both leaders were military dictators before becoming democratically elected presidents.
For several days between the last week of October and November 3, soldiers, day and night, fired bullets around Oyigbo, indiscriminately targeting unarmed civilians, several of whom were either killed or injured, multiple witnesses, among them rescuers of victims, said. They planted fears in the community and triggered forced displacements, with residents fleeing westwards to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, or eastwards to neighbouring Imo and Abia States.
But Kogi State Government has said that it will rename a school to immortalise the late Major. General John Olu Irefin who died of COVID-19 Complications.
Commissioner for information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo in a statement described the death of the Major General as “heart-rending”.
The Commissioner said as a mark of honour, Kogi State Government has decided to rename the Government Science Secondary School in Kabba area after the dead Irefin.
According to the statement, “The Governor, Government and people of Kogi State regret the demise of an outstanding Army Officer who hailed from the State, Late Gen. Olubunmi Irefin”.
The statement further reads, “The late Army General who was the GOC, 6 Div. recently gave his late mum a befitting last honor. For him to die a few weeks after burying his mother is heart rendering.
“Like many outstanding Generals Kogi has produced, the Late Gen. Irefin was a chemistry of brilliance, bravery, courage and inalienable loyalty to the Nigerian nation.
Kogi Government in the statement added that, “For years, he defended Nigeria as a committed Army Officer and also the integrity of the Army. Nigeria has lost a Greenheart-fighter who gave all to his nation and her people.
Furthermore, “The Late General Olubunmi Irefin was not just a brave soldier; but also an accomplished scholar of repute. To this end, the Kogi State Government shall be putting in place, modalities to rename the Government Science Secondary School, Okedayo as Olu Irefin Science Secondary School, Okedayo”. The statement reads
“This is to inspire a new generation of Kogi youth to embrace hard work and excellence”. he stated.