The death of the first female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force, Tolulope Arotile, has sent Shockwaves across the country with President Muhammadu Buhari taking the lead in the pain of loss.
Tolulope died yesterday, July 14, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna.
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 hails from Ife 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.
In a condolence message, President Buhari described her death as shocking and painful, especially, against the background of her dedication towards the battle against bandits and criminal elements in the society.
The President said that he received with deep pain the passing of Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile, describing her a promising officer, whose short stay on earth impacted greatly on the nation, especially in peace and security.
He acknowledged Arotile’s bravery in the field to protect the country from onslaught of bandits and terrorists, even as he assured that her memory will be indelible, and her efforts remembered.
President Buhari the deceased family, Kogi State, the Nigerian Air Force, airmen, airwomen and all friends of the deceased.
He recalled “her deft skills in manoeuvring combat helicopters, which I physically witnessed with pride.”
President Buhari prayed that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed, and comfort the family she left behind.
This is even as the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, sympathized with the family of late Arotile.