The Nigerian Air force(NAF) on the 14th of July, 2020 lost its first female flying officer Tolulope Arotile due to head injuries sustained from a car crash she was involved in at the NAF’s base in Kaduna.
Arotile having recently finished her promotion examination and attached to the air component of operation GAMA AIKI in Minna as she was previously a squadron pilot at the 405 helicopter combat training group in Enugu. Reports states that she was awaiting the deployment her next assignment in Kaduna where the accident had occurred.
She was buried on the 23rd of July, 2020 at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja, the ceremony was attended by her Family members, friends and some ranking members of the society including the Chief of Army staff, Sadique Abubakar who eulogised and noted that her short stay at the NAF was peaceful as well as impactful as she was highly committed to all jobs she was assigned to. Mr Adeyemi had recalled that Arotile was winged as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot at the Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Abuja on 15th of October, 2019, after completing her flying training in South Africa. Further recalling also that Arotile had undergone tactical flying training on the Augusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter in Italy, and holds a commercial pilots’ licence.
He also recalled that on the 6th of February, 2020, she introduced the Air Force’s newly-acquired Augusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari during the induction ceremony at the Eagle Square, Abuja.
Mr Adeyemi also urged the Nigerian Airforce to immortalise the first female combat helicopter pilot of the nation by naming any Airforce building after her or an institution of learning in Ijumu Local government area.