Nigeria loses it’s first ever female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile, after being knocked down by a reversing vehicle on 14 July 2020 at the age of 24.

In a statement released by Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Flying Officer Arotile was inadvertently hit by an excited former Air Force Secondary School classmate while trying to greet her.

Before her untimely death, Flying Officer Arotile made significant and outstanding contributions to the war against terrorism, armed banditry and other forms of criminality in Nigeria, flying several combat missions. Flying Officer Arotile was winged as the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force on 15 October 2019, after completing her flying training in South Africa.

“I joined the military simply out of passion for it. Being a military personnel has been a long time ambition, the carriage and what it stands for are simply exceptional”.

She was born on 13th December 1995 to the family of Mr and Mrs Akintunde Arotile in Kaduna. Flying Officer Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile hails from Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State. She attended Air Force Primary School, Kaduna from 2000 – 2005 and Air Force Secondary School, Kaduna from 2006 – 2011 before she later gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna as a member of 64 Regular Course on 22nd September 2012. Flying Officer Arotile was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a Pilot Officer on 16 September 2017 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy.

She holds a commercial pilot license and also underwent tactical flying training on the Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter in Italy. Incidentally, she introduced the newly acquired Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, during the induction ceremony at Eagle Square in Abuja on 6 February 2020.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the Service, commiserates with the family of late Flying Officer Arotile over their loss.

Story: Ehi Ohiani

Pictures: Nigerian Airforce

Click Naija 2020

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