The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai and many senior officers of the Nigerian Army have proceeded on 14-day isolation following Thursday’s death of Maj. Gen. Johnson Olu Irefin, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division, Bori Camp, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
General Irefin reportedly died of COVID-19 complications, heightening fears that many senior officers who had contact with him might have contracted the disease.
The Army had announced that a top officer had contracted the virus with credible sources in the military saying Gen. Irefin was the victim who later died in hospital.There was no official confirmation on his death.But “One of our officers, the GOC 6 Division is dead,” a source in the army said. “He died in Abuja after developing complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
Prior to assuming the command of the 6 Division and Land Component Commander Operation, Delta Safe, Port Harcourt Barracks, Irefin was the immediate-past GOC 81 Division Nigerian Army, Lagos.
Late Irefin was among the top military officers comprising principal staff officers, GOCs, commandants of army schools, commanders of army operations and the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi that participated in the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference 2020, in Abuja, which was abruptly cancelled when it was discovered that one of those in attendance had contracted COVID-19.
Besides cancelling the major event, Buratai had also asked all the guests invited for the wedding of his son not to attend, indicating that the event will be low key.
There has been a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections across the states with experts attributing the development to the nonchalant attitude of Nigerians.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to inform members of the public that due to resurgence of COVID- 19 pandemic in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, in what appears to be a second wave of the infection cycle and the unfortunate incident of Tuesday, December 8, 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 been 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.
It was unclear whether Defence Minister, Magashi had proceeded for isolation because he was enlisted as the person that would decorate newly promoted senior officers of the Nigerian Air Force.
Following the recent development, General Buratai has announced that he will not be physically present at the wedding of his son, Hamisu Tukur Buratai, billed to hold on Friday.
The army chief, who announced in a statement issued by General Musa, noted that the wedding would proceed as scheduled but with the exclusion of those who attended the botched conference.