26 Generals and other senior officers have tested positive for COVID-19 after the death of Maj. Gen. John Irefin, the Nigerian Army said on Monday.
417 officers had also undergone the coronavirus testing after Irefin, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Port Harcourt, died from COVID-19 complications during the annual Chief of Army Staff Conference in Abuja last Thursday.
In a statement by the acting Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sagir Musa, stated that all the officers and soldiers working at the Army Headquarters were being tested, and COVID-19 protocols were being strictly imposed across all units and formations of the NA.
This however, create fears among the aides of the infected generals, including drivers, orderlies, cooks and other close acquaintances, speculating that may have contracted the coronavirus.
A senior military officer noted that the secondary victims might also have passed the virus to other family members, colleagues and friends.
The Chairman, FCT COVID-19 Protocols Enforcement Task Team, Attah Ikharo, while giving answer if the Federal Capital Territory Administration Health Secretariat had commenced contact-tracing, said the army was handling the matter.
He stated that anyone who had contact with the infected military officers “should also take the matter in their hands,” adding that “people must own the process.”
He added, “If you are enforcing everything (protocols), the public would not know the extent of what they ought to do. So, people should own the process and save themselves. The second wave is already here with us as the (FCT) minister said and we are already seeing it. On our own part, we will see what we can do but people must own the process.”
He also ordered inquiries on the contact-tracing to the acting Secretary, FCT Health Secretariat, Dr Mohammed Kawu.
Musa in his statement titled, ‘The emergence of COVID-19 during COAS conference,’ explained that the Army Headquarters complex was fumigated on Saturday.
The statement read, “On the confirmation that General Irefin’s COVID-19 test was positive on December 9, 2020, the Chief of Army Staff directed the immediate suspension of the conference and all participants were directed to move into self-isolation in line with FGN protocols on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Equally, comprehensive testing of all participants commenced immediately. Consequently, as of Sunday, December 13, 2020, a total of 417 personnel have so far been tested with 26 confirmed positive cases.
“Currently, all participants are in self-isolation irrespective of their results, while the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recommended COVID-19 treatment drugs were immediately issued to those that tested positive.
“Accordingly, all officers and soldiers working at the Army headquarters are being tested and COVID-19 protocols being strictly enforced across all units and formations of the NA.”