The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has lost its first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, who died at 24 years of age.
Announcing the death of its Flying Officer Arotile, the Nigerian Airforce said she died on July 14, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
“It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died on July 14, 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 hails from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, contributed significantly to the efforts to rid the North Central States of 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,” Daramola said.
Nigerians, who have expressed sorrow and sadness over Arotile’s death have taken to the micro-blogging site, Twitter, to pass comments and pay their tributes.
Below are some of their comments:
It is a sad day for Nigerians, we received with shock the news of the passing of a remarkable and gallant flying officer, Tolulope Arotile, the first female combat helicopter pilot in Nigeria. My deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. May she Rest in Peace. pic.twitter.com/FiP7bxI92Z
— Tony Ojukwu (@TonyOjukwuO) July 15, 2020
I am saddened at the tragic and sudden death of one of our trailblazers, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile at the age of 23.
Until her death, FO Arotile, who was commissioned into the NAF in 2017 as a member of the NDA Regular Course 64, was the 1st Female Combat Pilot in Service pic.twitter.com/VSVDDiV0i2
— Babajimi Benson (@IamJimiBenson) July 15, 2020
This is so sad, RIP Tolulope Arotile😔 pic.twitter.com/fIJ1iBzmOr
— Samuel Mbah (@Mbahdeyforyou) July 15, 2020
We are saddened by the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, a passionate and outstanding officer. We thank her for her relentless service to our dear country. May she rest in power. pic.twitter.com/MPMY511hvX
— #AbujaDiscourse/Dinidari FDN (@AbujaDiscourse) July 15, 2020
Sad day for Nigeria!
Rest in peace Tolulope Arotile.
I pray God gives the country, your family and friends the courage and fortitude to bear the huge loss. pic.twitter.com/2SfVR5RzjC
— Prince Gideon Olanrewaju 🇳🇬🇨🇦 (@LanreShaper) July 15, 2020
It’s sad to learn that that few minutes after I passed the NAF Airforce Base Kaduna,a tragic accident happened which took away the life of one of Nigeria’s finest and first female combat Helicopter Pilot,Tolulope Arotile.A great loss to our country.May her soul Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/jAZ4dmJr1U
— Senator Shehu Sani (@ShehuSani) July 15, 2020
(1/4) I was heart broken when I received the sad news of the death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile yesterday in Kaduna. Tolulope, who was winged in October 2019, as the first female @NigAirForce combat helicopter pilot, was one of our shining young stars. pic.twitter.com/ZCjwMy2dwE
— Air Marshal Abubakar (@CAS_AMSadique) July 15, 2020
The death of 23 year old Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria's first female combat pilot in a "car accident" at a Nigerian Air Force base is SUSPICIOUS. At a time when a Yoruba General's Boko Haram field report got him court martialed, the death of a frontline Yoruba pilot smells.
— Babatunde Olalere Gbadamosi (@BOGbadamosi) July 15, 2020
Rest In Peace Tolulope Arotile. This life is too short. This is a big loss to the Nigerian AirForce.
Tolulope is Nigeria's First Female Combat Helicopter pilot and Slayer of Bandits and Terrorists. pic.twitter.com/7wAf9LRuPH
— Dr PamPam | Omo Iya Ologi (@UnclePamilerin) July 15, 2020
I woke up to the disturbing news of Fahim Saleh’s gruesome murder in NYC (CEO, Gokada) & the unfortunate death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile (first ever female combat helicopter pilot in Nigeria) to a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna.
May their souls Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/aWJMl9BEJW
— Gbemi Dennis™ (@GbemiDennis) July 15, 2020
Nigeria lost a germ today. Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile was involved in an auto accident where she died as a result of head injuries sustained from the incident. pic.twitter.com/26z9PV1KKc
— Defense News Nigeria (@DefenseNigeria) July 15, 2020
Nigeria's first female Combat Helicopter Pilot, 23-year-old Tolulope Arotile has passed on, after sustaining head injuries from a road accident. pic.twitter.com/z74MOs1nEk
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) July 15, 2020
RIP, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.
Continue to fly among the stars, you lived a purposeful life, you achieved your dreams, you laid the path for other air combat women, your name is written in history. Air warrior!!!
Mehn..I am close to tears 😢😢😢😢 pic.twitter.com/0TmeFj7QJu
— Dr. Guendouzi (The Cerebral Assassin) (@fimiletoks) July 15, 2020
The lovely baby of the Nigerian Airforce and it’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, has died in a road accident. This is ironically sad,after flying combat missions against bandits, she died in a road accident within the barracks! May her lovely soul RIP😥 pic.twitter.com/sZh7hAaUP0
— Olusoga Owoeye (@olusogaowoeye) July 15, 2020
Rest in peace Tolulope Arotile, and Fahim Saleh. I pray God gives your families and friends the courage to bear the loss.
— Dr. Dípò Awójídé (@OgbeniDipo) July 15, 2020