Investigation into the death of late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile including the prosecution of suspects will be taken over by the police today (Friday), the Nigerian Air Force has declared.
This was confirmed by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Comm. Ibikunle Daramola.
Speaking on Channels Television programme on Friday, Daramola explained that the case is been transferred to the police because it involved civilians.
Naija News recalls Arotile, who was killed after she was hit by a reversing vehicle said to have been driven by Nehemiah Adejoh was buried at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja on Thursday.
Daramola, however, added that the circumstances surrounding the death of the late combatant pilot had been investigated by NAF as well.
The findings by NAF will be communicated with Police as they take over the case since it also involved civilians.
Daramola said, “In terms of handing over to the police, the handover will be done today (Friday); It does not preclude further investigation by the police, they will still call all the witnesses, they would still interview everybody and also visit the crime scene.
“From the first day, the traffic officer from Kawo police station were invited, an inspector and two corporals were brought in and were able to capture crime scene evidence that was relevant.”
Arotile died at the young age of 24 at the NAF Hospital, Kaduna after she was knocked down and run over by Adejoh who was driving a Kia Sorento SUV at the NAF base in Kaduna on July 14.
The driver and two other occupants of the car, Mr Igbekele Folorunsho and Mr Festus Gbayegun, all former schoolmates of the deceased at the Air Force Secondary School (now Air Force Comprehensive School) Kaduna, were also taken into custody.
The NAF spokesperson noted that a preliminary investigation has been carried out by the air police directorate of the Air Force.
“First of all, we carry out a preliminary investigation to determine who are involved, their level of involvement, to interview witnesses, to look at the scene and so in doing that, that is our own first stage of investigation because it happened on the base.”
Meanwhile, Daramola revealed that an autopsy was not carried out on the body of the deceased because the parents and family wanted to move on after the accident and were satisfied with the reports made available on circumstances surrounding Arotile’s death.
“On the issue of autopsy or otherwise that would have been initiated by the family but based on discussions with them and the fact that witnesses were there at the time she was taken to the Nigerian Air Force hospital in Kaduna, there were no doubts as to the cause of death which was head injury as a result of blunt force trauma caused by the vehicle hitting her from the rear.
“So, in consultation with her family, her father, Akintunde Arotile, said they wanted closure on this matter and that he was comfortable with the Nigerian Air Force’s investigation which of course is also being transferred to the police.
“Autopsy was not done because it wasn’t requested, the cause of death was already known based on the investigation and how she was taken to the hospital and the confirmation was made. There were no doubts in that regard and there was no request from the family for that specifically. No autopsy was done,” he said.