NAF Mourns Arotile, Nigeria’s First Female Combat Helicopter Pilot

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has announced the death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in Nigeria, who passed on at the age of 23.

Arotile died yesterday as a result of head injuries sustained from a road accident at NAF Base in Kaduna.

Her death came barely a year after she was winged as a combat helicopter pilot in NAF, following the completion of her course in South Africa.

Confirming the accident, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said until her death, ‪ Arotile, who was commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Regular Course 64, was the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in the service.

He said: “During her short but impactful stay in the service, the 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 armed 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 officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the family of the late Flying Officer Arotile over this irreparable loss. We pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest.”