The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and perhaps the entire nation has been thrown into a state of mourning following the death of the first female helicopter Pilot, Officer Tolulope Arotile.
A release by the Nigerian Air Force reveals that the young officer died in a road accident on Tuesday after sustaining head injuries at the NAF Base in Kaduna.
According to the Air Force Spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement late Tuesday night, said 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.
He said, Arotile who was barely 23, hails 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 statement reads in full…
“It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Nigerian Air Force regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died on 14 July 2020 as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna. Until her death, Fg Offr Arotile, who was commissioned into the NAF in Sept 2017 as a member of Headquarters Nigerian Defence Academy RC 64, was the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Service.
During her short but impactful stay in the Service, late Arotile, 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.
Air Marshal 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.”