Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat pilot, laid to rest in Abuja


Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, was buried at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja, on Thursday, July 23, 2020 amid tears and tributes.

The gallant flying officer was accorded full military honours as the hierarchy of the Nigerian Military led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin paid tributes.

Her remains were lowered into the grave at exactly 11.05 a.m.

Aged 24, Arotile, died on July 14 in Kaduna, after he was hit by the reversing vehicle of a schoolmate who had wanted to exchange pleasantries with her, as he saw her standing by the road side.

She eventually died from severe injuries following the auto accident at the NAF base in Kaduna, the Air Force said in a statement announcing her death.

Her burial ceremony was coordinated in strict compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said.

The driver that hit her said to be her former secondary school classmate, NAF said had been handed over to police for further investigation and prosecution.

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and other national leaders had paid homage to the young military star, while the Air Force had promised she would be buried with full military honours.

Arotile was only commissioned as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, eight months to her death.