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Late General Irefin buried in home town amidst protests



Late General Irefin buried in home town amidst protests

The late General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General John Olu Irefin has been buried in his country home in Ayetoro Gbede, Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, amidst protests by youths of the community.

General Irefin reportedly took ill on Monday while attending the annual Chief of Army Staff Conference in Abuja and died in the early hours of Wednesday at a military medical facility.

A statement by the Army Headquarters linked his death to the dreaded COVID-19 but that has become a subject contention by his kinsmen who are suspecting a foul play.

The body of the late Amphibious General arrived the Kogi community early on Saturday and was interred at his private residence in the community, in what was described as a purely military affair.

Youths of the community however protested the hurried burial of the late General Irefin, alleging foul play and insisting that he did not die from COVID-19 complications.

The youths, carrying leaves and chanting solidarity songs, protested in front of General Irefin’s residence while stern looking soldiers stand guard by the gate and all over the expansive compound.

Earlier on Friday, the Ayetoro Gbede Descendants Forum, (AGDF), Lagos chapter, while mourning the death of the General, called on youths of the community to shelve their planned protest.

Though it said it was not convinced that late GOC died as a result of COVID-19, the group said it would align itself with the decision of the Irefin family either to ask for autopsy to determine the true cause of death or not.

In a statement signed by its President, Rufus Douglas Bello, the AGDF said: “The death of Major General John Olu Irefin is a great loss not just to his family, the Ayetoro Gbede community but to Kogi State and the nation in general. The GOC 6th Division of the Nigerian Army was a fine and thorough bred officer that even the army will miss.

“We are pained that we lost General Irefin, who in his lifetime identified personally with our course as a group and contributed to its activities.

“While we mourn him, we will like to make it clear that we, as an association, do not support the planned protest by students and youths of the community and adjoining ones. We will not support any recourse to violence or any form of lawlessness in the pursuit of any agitation for a thorough investigation of the cause of death of the late General.

“Though we appreciate the decision of the military to release his corpse for burial in Ayetoro Gbede as against COVID-19 protocols, we still do not wholeheartedly accept COVID-19 as the cause of his death. We shall however align ourselves with any decision taken by his family on whether an autopsy should be conducted or not.

“While we pray for God to console his family and the community at large, we call on all our brothers and sisters at home to maintain the peace and not allow this painful experience to degenerate to unnecessary scuffle with the military or any security agencies.

“The best we can do at the moment is to mourn our brother quietly, pray for the repose of his soul and comfort for the family he left behind.”

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