An Irreparable Loss: Nigerias Mourn first female combat Helicopter pilot

Late FO. Tolulope Arotile (NAF)

Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile made history as the first female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigeria Air Force; however, she died barely a year after she was winged at the Air Force following the completion of her course at South Africa.
Tolulope Arotile, 24, died of head injuries sustained after a former school friend accidentally reversed into her while she was trying to greet her, the country’s air force said in a statement.-CNN.
Spokesman to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Ibikunle Daramola announced her death in a statement late on Tuesday.
According to reports, Daramola revealed that the accident happened at NAF Base in Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria.


Late FO. Tolulope Arotile

The NAF spokesman said Arotile’s career was one of “impactful service” that contributed significantly towards eradicating armed bandits and other criminal elements in the North Central States of the country, by flying several combat missions under Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State.
“We pray that the Almighty God grant her soul eternal rest.”‬


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Daramola, in commiseration of Arotile’s death, spoke on behalf of members of NAF staff:
“The Chief of 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.”
Following newsman from CNN, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari said he received the news with “deep pain” and sent condolences to her family and colleagues, his aide said in a statement.
The President recalled he had witnessed Arotile’s flying skills and commended her contributions to the nation’s battle against terrorism and armed banditry attacks.

Late FO. Tolulope Arotile

“The President salutes Arotile’s bravery in the field to protect the country from onslaught of bandits and terrorists, assuring that her memory will be indelible, and her efforts remembered,” the statement read.
Moreso, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President of the 9th Senate – Representing Yobe North Senatorial District, wrote in a tweet, expressing sadness over the death of the Flying Officer:

He also made 3 other tweets following the former, one of which he said:
“There is no doubt that Arotile will be greatly missed both in the Nigerian Air Force and the entire country who celebrated her outstanding feat when she was commissioned into the service in September, 2017.”

Also, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki )MBBS, CON 13th President of the Senate & Chair, 8th Session, Nigeria National Assembly 2015 – 2019), made a tweet expressing sadness as well:

“Flying Officer Arotile dedicated her life to the service of her nation and in so doing became a role model for millions of Nigerians on breaking glass ceilings. She will be missed.”

Arotile hails from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
She was commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 64 and later became first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the service in Nigeria.
May her gentle soul rest in peace. Adieu Arotile!

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