Nigeria yesterday lost its first ever female combatant helicopter pilot Tolulope Arotile, who only about eight months ago just ended a programme at the Starlite International Training Academy, South Africa and was decorated by Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar.
Arotile it was gathered was killed in a freak accident at the Nigerian Air Force base in Kaduna state.
According to reports, Flight Officer Arotile was died due to injuries sustained in the accident.
A statement by the Nigeria Air Force announced the demise of the twenty eight year old Kogi state indigene.
“It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died today, 14 July 2020, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna,” the statement read.
“Until her death, Flying Officer Arotile, who was commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 64, was the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Service. During her short but impactful stay in the Service, late Arotile, who hailed from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, contributed significantly to the efforts to rid the North Central States of armed bandits and other criminal elements by flying several combat missions under Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State.
“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf of officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the family of late Flying Officer Arotile over this irreparable loss. We pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest.”
President Buhari reacts:
President Muhammadu Buhari who received the news of the death of the young female flight officer said he was really saddened by the death of Arotile and commiserated with the Airforce and the people of Kogi state where she hailed from.
A statement by his Senior Special Adviser on media Garba Shehu, read;
“President Buhari received with deep pain the news of the passing of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, and condoles with the family on the loss of such a promising officer, whose short stay on earth impacted greatly on the nation, especially in peace and security.
“President Buhari commiserates with the Nigerian Air Force, airmen, airwomen and all friends of the deceased, recalling her deft skills in manoeuvring combat helicopters, which he had physically witnessed with pride.
“The President sympathises with government and people of Kogi State on the loss, and prays that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed, and comfort the family she left behind.”