The father of the first female Helicopter combatant pilot who died a few days ago has spoken on the anguishing effect of her daughter’s death
From day one, she had not just been brilliant, but wonderful. I was in Kaduna then, she did all her educational career; from kindergarten to the nursery, at the Air Force base and the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna. One day, when she was very small, she pointed to one small aircraft packed on the field and said: “Dad, one day I am going to fly that aircraft”, and I said “Amen!”
So, from that day, she started working towards that. She got admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna. She had a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, she became an Air Force Cadet. She was sent on several courses abroad and became a pilot. I just thank God that she was able to achieve her dreams as a baby before her death.
Tolulope was my fourth born, From day one, she had been very, very intelligent. Sometimes, I wondered what type of IQ she had. She also combined intelligence with hard-work. If you had been here when her bosses from Enugu came, you would think she was their daughter, the way they were eulogizing her, and being proud of her achievements.
Just four hours before she died, I called her because she just came back from an operation against the bandits in Katsina. They gave them one week to rest, and so she was sleeping and told me she was in bed resting. She said she would later go out to make some photocopies and I told her not to belong, and to return home on time because she was staying with my first daughter in Kaduna. Around 5.30 pm, somebody called me and asked if I had called her today, and I said yes, then the person told me to call her, which I did, but no response. So, I called her colleagues, and they were all crying on the phone.
When I asked, “What happened?” They were just crying. So, I called one of her bosses who told me that she is in the mortuary, and I said “What!” Somebody I spoke with four hours ago and by 5 pm she is in the mortuary. I had to drive to Lokoja from Abuja to enable me to inform her mother physically because I could not break such news on the phone, but when I came she had gone to the prayer mountain. She came back at around 8.30 am. I told her this is what I heard, but that I had not confirmed.
Rotile Was Hit By Ex-Classmate’s Car, NAF Says
Details emerged on the demise of Nigeria’s first female combat pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.
Arotile died at the Nigerian Air Force base in Kaduna on July 14th, 2020. She died less than a year after she was decorated as the first female combatant helicopter pilot.
The 24-year-old from Kogi State was said to have been hit by a car driven by a former classmate who wanted to greet her.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Com. Ibikunle Daramola revealed this in a statement in Abuja.
He stated, “Flying Officer Arotile died on July 14, 2020, at the age of 24, when she was inadvertently hit by the reversing vehicle of an excited former classmate at the Air Force Secondary School while trying to greet her.
“Before her untimely death, Flying Officer Arotile made significant and outstanding contributions to the war against terrorism, banditry, and other forms of criminality in the country, flying several combat missions.”
It was learned that the unnamed ex-classmate has been detained following the death of the combat helicopter pilot.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, while condoling with her family and Nigeria, said Arotile would be missed.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information Air Com. Ibikunle Daramola revealed this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
It stated, “Flying Officer Arotile died on July 14, 2020, at the age of 24, when she was inadvertently hit by the reversing vehicle of 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 the country, flying several combat missions.”
Daramola explained that Arotile joined the Nigerian Air Force out of a passion for the job.
Born on December 13, 1995, to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Akintunde Arotile in Kaduna, Arotile hailed from the Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.