By Seun Adeuyi
The Aiyetoro-Gbede Community in Kogi State, kinsmen to late Major General Olubunmi Irefin, have rejected the statement from the military high command that the late general died of COVID-19-related complications and vowed to investigate the real cause of his death.
They insisted that the deceased was full of life in Ayetoro Gbede two weeks earlier when he returned for the burial ceremony of his late mother and participated fully in all communal engagements until a signal came for him come to Abuja for the Chief of Army Staff Conference.
The community vowed to explore every details to unravel the true cause of his death.
In a statement on Saturday signed by Chief A.A. Aminu on behalf of the Olu of Ayetoro Gbede, Oba D.S Ehindero, the Ayetoro Development Association, and the Ayetoro Gbede Traditional Council, Irefin’s kinsmen said the circumstances which surrounded his sudden death was suspicious.
The statement reads:
“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 of the eneral will agree that every movement of his, was with military precision.
“Suddenly, a signal came to him from Abuja to attend 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 yesterday, 10th December, 2020 that the General died of Covid -19; and the sudden rush for his burial tomorrow (Sunday) 12th December, 2020.
“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 Olubunmi Irefin for the following reasons:
“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 it victim instantly?
“At an advance age of 80 years, the former Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the late Abba Kyari, battled COVID-19 for weeks before he died.
“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 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 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, General Olu Irefin.”
When contacted Senator Dino Melaye, a former lawmaker from the town confirmed the authenticity of the press statement.
Recall that the late general was pronounced dead by the military authorities on December 10, 2020, as a result of COVID-19 related complications.