The Nigerian Army has provided detailed account and sequence of events leading to the death of the erstwhile General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Maj.-Gen. John Irefin on December 10.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sagir Musa, in a statement on Sunday, said the explanation was essential to ward off insinuations of unwholesome act on the sad incident.
Musa said that the sudden death of the late general was no doubt a great loss to the Nigerian Army, his family and the country at large.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to inform the public the sequence of events that led to the death of the late senior officer,” he announced.
He said that the just concluded Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference 2020, which started on December 7 after the virtual declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari has all principal officers, GOCs, commanders, commandants and directors, among others, as participants.
Musa said that the late Irefin was among the senior officers who were at Giri where Army Cyber Warfare Command Headquarters was virtually inaugurated by President Buhari.
He explained that while at Giri, the general started complaining of discomfort.
“In spite of the discomfort, he was at Phase 2 in Life Camp for the ground breaking of housing scheme for families of killed-in-action officers and soldiers from where he left the venue for his accommodation.
“He was later taken to Defence Medical Centre same day at about 21:25 hours, having complained of fever, headache and mild cough.
“Medical history revealed that he was treated for malaria with parenteral artemether a week ago at 6 Division Medical Services and Hospital Port Harcourt where he was the GOC.
“He had fever but oxygen saturation was normal at 99 per cent.
“Other vital signs were essentially stable on presentation,” he said.
The army spokesperson further said that a working diagnosis of drug resistant malaria to rule out lobar pneumonia and COVID-19 infection was made, adding that he was also placed on cefriaxone and COVID-19 test was requested.
He noted that in the morning of December 8, the fever and cough subsided and he was eating well.
“On the same day, he was discharged after his sample for COVID-19 test had been taken and was requested to self isolate pending the outcome of the test.
“On December 9, the result of the COVID-19 test conducted on him was positive.
“As a result, he was taken to 063 Nigerian Airforce Hospital, Abuja, where his oxygen saturation was noted to be well reduced.
“He was then immediately taken to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja, by the Commander 063 NAF Hospital for further management.
“At the hospital, he was immediately admitted and placed on high flow oxygen.
“An initial improvement of 80 to 82 per cent oxygen saturation was noticed.
“He was then commenced on Anti viral agent remdesivir based on the COVID-19 test result.
“Other treatment included the usual COVID-19 treatment cocktail.
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“Unfortunately, in spite of these efforts, at about 05:10 hours on Thursday, December 10, the Commander 063 NAF Hospital Abuja was informed that the senior officer desaturated again and eventually died.
Musa said that the cause of Irefin’s death was reported as respiratory failure secondary to the complications of COVID-19 infection.
“This explanation is essential in order to ward off mischievous and wicked insinuations from certain quarters alluding unwholesome act as responsible for the death of the respected senior officer.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to once again console and extend its condolences to the family he left behind.
“May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace Ameen,” he said.