Death snatches Nigeria’s first female combat pilot

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Tolulope Arotile
Tolulope Arotile

Nigerian Air Force first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, has died in a road accident.

It was learnt that Arotile sustained head injuries from the road accident which occurred at the NAF Base in Kaduna.

NAF in a press statement said the flight officer died on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

The statement quoted the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as describing her death as an “irreparable loss”.

Arotile, who hailed from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, recently completed a programme at the Starlite International Training Academy, South Africa

She died less than a year after she was decorated as the first female combatant helicopter pilot.

The statement read, “It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died yesterday, Tuesday, 14 July, 2020, 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, the 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.

We pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest.”

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