Tolulope: Arotile Family demands death probe as Afenifere rejects NAF report

Tolulope Arotile
Tolulope Arotile
Tolulope Arotile in her different appearances as a combat pilot, including with President Muhammadu Buhari, among other dignitaries

The family of Tolulope Arotile, the late first Nigerian female combat pilot, have demanded the probe into the mysterious death of their daughter said to have been hit by a reversing car of her former classmate.

Aged 24, Tolulope, was a combat pilot with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) until her death on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

Similarly, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, also, on Thursday, rejected the accident report presented by NAF as the cause of her death, while it called for a probe.

Tolulope’s elder sister, Damilola Adegboye, speaking with journalists on Thursday, said, the family was devastated by her untimely death, while they kept on wondering how a classmate’s car that was reversing could kill her.

“We are not convinced that Tolu can die like that in a freak accident. I know that the military is well trained in the art of investigation; we want them to carry out a thorough investigation that can convince us beyond all doubts that the incident that led to her death was the truth,” Adegboye said.

ALSO READ: I spoke with my daughter, Tolulope Arotile, 1:00 p.m. only to die 4 hours later —Father of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot

Tolulope who had been given a week off from duty after a flight mission, was staying with her elder sister in Kaduna, who said, the day her late combat pilot sister died, she was in the room where she was sleeping.

According to her: “A call came into her mobile phone; from the way she spoke, I knew that the caller must be a senior officer telling her to come to the Air Force base. She was reluctant and I offered to drop her off.

“One hour later, I saw it online that something serious had happened to her. I couldn’t believe that somebody I just dropped off is dead.”

The bereaved mother, who also contributed described her late daughter, Tolulope, as a special child who liked to fast and pray.

The Afenifere, who had demanded a coroner inquest into Tolulope’s death, reacting through its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, in a statement entitled: ‘Afenifere Wants Coroner Inquest Into Tolulope Arotile’s Death,’ said, with the death of the flying officer, “Nigeria the demented chicken sucked one of its finest eggs yet again.”

The statement read: “It was only eyewitness accounts that unofficially released that it was a colleague of hers who reversed his car to knock her down on the road.

“Unofficial accounts say she just returned from a combat operation before she was knocked down to death. We, therefore, do not accept that her death was an accident until the report of a coroner says how she died and how a supposed attempt to stop and greet could come with a death impact.

“We say this against what is known of the infiltration of the forces by sympathisers and agents of Boko Haram. We recall the report years back of such agents revealing the routes and timing of movements of our troops to Boko Haram who ambushed them.”