President Muhammadu Buhari consoles with family and associates of Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first flying officer.
In a statement signed by Femi Adesina, special adviser to the President on media and publicity, Buhari salutes Arotile’s gallantry in the fight against terrorism.
“President Mohammadu Buhari received with deep pain the passing of Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile, condoling with the family on loss of such a promising officer, whose short stay on earth impacted greatly on the nation, especially in peace and security.
“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.
“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.
“President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed, and comfort the family she left behind.
The news of Arotile’s death was announced on Tuesday by Spokesman to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Ibikunle Daramola.
Daramola disclosed that Arotile died as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base in Kaduna State, northern Nigeria.
Arotile, according to Daramola, died barely a year after she was winged as a combat helicopter pilot in the Air Force following the completion of her course in South Africa.
The NAF spokesman described Arotile’s career as one of “impactful service” who 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 grant her soul eternal rest.”
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.
Daramola extended the commiseration of Arotile’s death from “the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the family of late Flying Officer Arotile over this irreparable loss.”