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Speaker Gbajabiamila Mourns Tolulope Arotile



Speaker Gbajabiamila Mourns Tolulope Arotile

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has reacted to the death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot winged by the Nigerian Air Force.

Naija News had reported earlier that the first Nigeria Air Force female combat pilot, Tolulope Arotile died at age 23 as a result of head injuries she sustained from an accident at the Nigerian Air Force base in Kaduna state, northern Nigeria.

The death of the Flying Officer was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday night by the Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola.

This statement read, “It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died today, 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, late Arotile, who hailed 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.

“The Chief of the 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. We pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest,” the statement read.

However, on Wednesday, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information Air Com. Ibikunle Daramola said in a statement that an unnamed ex-classmate was reportedly reversing the car when it hit Arotile who fell and hit her head on the tarmac.

Reacting to Arotile’s death in a tweet on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, Speaker Gbajabiamila wrote: “I received with great shock the death of our country’s first female combat pilot, Tolulope Arotile, I saw her months ago display her talent to the admiration of many of us at a @NigAirForce event. Indeed we have lost a great talent! My condolences to the Arotile family and N.A.F.”