The first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in Nigeria, Tolulope Arotile is dead. She was barely 23 years of age.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) public relations officer, Ibikunle Daramola announced her death.
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.”