The Nigerian Army has cancelled the remaining activities in the ongoing Chief of Army Staff’s annual conference 2020 after a participant died in Abuja, on Tuesday. The victim, identified as Maj. Gen. John Irefin, the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, reportedly died of complications from COVID-19. A senior military officer confirmed Irefin’s death to The PUNCH on Thursday, describing it as devastating. The acting Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sagir Musa, in a statement on Thursday, said all the conference participants had been directed to immediately proceed on self-isolation in line with the protocol for COVID- 19.
The annual conference which started on Monday had the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and some dignitaries as virtual participants while the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi and a few others participated physically.
Those who attended the event physically including senior military officers, GOCs, principal military officers and guests were expected to go into self-isolation.
The statement read, “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.”
The CAS also announced that the wedding of this son, Hamisu, slated for Friday (today), would be scaled down without the participation of those who attended the conference.
“However, due to the resurgence of the pandemic in the FCT, General Buratai will be unable to personally attend to, receive or meet you at the event. All inconveniences hereby regretted please,” the statement added.
The army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sagir Musa, failed to confirm the demise of Irefin as calls to his phone rang out.
He had yet to respond to a WhatsApp message as of the time of filing this report.