Concerns are said to be escalating among to brass of the Nigerian military about threats of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic following alleged reports to the effect that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division Nigerian Army, with operational base in Port- Harcourt, Major- General Johnson Olubunmi Irefin, may have died from complications arising from Coronavirus infection.
According to Agency reports, General Irefin suddenly and unexpectedly died Thursday morning in Abuja after falling ill last night. He was said to be attending a high-profile conference in Abuja when the incident happened.
In fact, The New Diplomat’s checks reveal that General Irefin was one of the top-ranking Army officers within the military top-brass who was attending the now cancelled Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory(FCT).
Those familiar with the late soldier disclosed that the brilliant, likeable and disciplined General Irefin buried his late mother only about a fortnight ago.
A top military source who spoke with The New Diplomat on condition of anonymity said the sudden and shocking death of General Irefin has expectedly triggered apprehension within the top brass of the military.
In the meantime, the Nigerian Army says it has cancelled the ongoing Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 in Abuja after an undisclosed army officer tested positive to COVID 19.
The Army spokesman, Brig-Gen Sagir Musa, in a statement on Thursday requested participants in the conference to immediately proceed on self isolation in line with the Federal Government’s protocol for COVID 19 in order to prevent any further spread of the disease.
The statement reads in part: ” The Nigerian Army wishes to inform members of the public that due to resurgence of COVID 19 Pandemic in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja in what appears to be a second wave of infection cycle and the unfortunate incident on Tuesday 8 December 2020, where an officer participating in the ongoing Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 here in Abuja tested positive to COVID 19, the remaining activities of the conference have therefore been immediately cancelled.
“All the participants have been mandated to immediately proceed on self isolation in line with the Federal Government’s protocol for COVID 19 and to prevent any further spread of the disease.
” All inconveniences hereby regretted please. Thanks for your usual understanding and cooperation please.”
In another statement, the Army spokesman also said that the Chief of Army Staff(COAS) had also pruned down the number of potential persons attending the wedding ceremony of his son, Hamisu Buratai, scheduled for Friday.
” “The Chief of Army Staff, on behalf of his family, feels honoured to sincerely appreciate, thank and welcome all dignitaries and invited guests to his son’s wedding slated for Friday, Dec. 11.
“However, due to the resurgence of the Pandemic in the FCT, Buratai will be unable to personally attend to, receive, or meet you at the event. All inconveniences are hereby regretted please,” Musa said.