The remains of late Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile, the Nigerian Air Force’s (NAF’s) first female combat helicopter pilot, who died on 14 July 2020, will be laid to rest with full military honors at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja on Thursday, 23rd of July 2020.
Meanwhile, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has received some members of the Federal Executive Council as well as members of the National Assembly who visited him at Headquarters NAF at various times yesterday, to condole with him over the unfortunate demise of the young pilot.
Among them were the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. The joint delegation from the upper and lower houses of the National Assembly was led by chairman, Senate Committee on Air Force, Bala Ibn-Na’Allah, and chairman, House Committee on Air Force, Honorable Shehu Koko.
Speaking during her visit, Tallen, who was accompanied by the Director-General of the National Council for Women Development as well as leaders of some other Women’s Groups, said she received the news of Arotile’s death with great shock. While conveying his condolences, Mohammed prayed that God would grant Arotile’s soul a peaceful repose and her family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Ibn-Na’Allah, stated that the committee and Senate as a whole, lacked the words to express how painful her death was to them. He described the late Arotile as a dedicated and goal-oriented young woman who lived an exemplary life that was worthy of emulation by other young Nigerians, urging NAF to give opportunities to young Nigerian girls to realize their dreams of serving their country.
Koko, on his part, noted that they at the House of Representatives, being aware of the many exploits the young officer had made in her short but impactful career, were extremely pained by her passing away but have taken solace in the fact that she had left a lasting legacy.
In his response, the CAS expressed his appreciation to the esteemed dignitaries as well as all Nigerians for their overwhelming show of support over the passing of Arotile, noting that she had left her mark in the sands of time which he said proves that when it comes to displaying excellence and adding value to the society, age or gender should not be barriers.
He disclosed that they would continue to give equal opportunities to female officers in terms of training, noting that a total of 11 female student pilots were currently undergoing flying training both within and outside Nigeria.
A condolence visit to her family by a high-powered delegation, composed of the CAS, Honorable Minister of Women Affairs as well as the Chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Air Force, has been scheduled to hold on a date before the burial.