Tears as Arotile, first female helicopter combat pilot is buried


Tears and emotions flowed nonstop as the remains of Nigeria’s first female helicopter combat pilot, Tolulope Arotile was laid to rest at the military cemetery in Abuja.

Arotile, who died from severe injuries following a road traffic accident at the NAF base in Kaduna on July 14 in Kaduna was buried in strict compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and his wife; the House Committee Chairman on Air Force, Bala Ib’n Nalla and the family members of the deceased were there to pay their last respects.

Read More: Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot Arotile is dead

Other top officials present at the ceremony were the Minister of Women Affairs, Paulen Tallen, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali.

A 21-gun salute was accorded to the slain late flying officer before her remains were buried at the National Military Cemetery, as scores of colleagues, including family members, bid tearful adieu.

The remains of the first Nigerian female Combat Helicopter Pilot, which arrived at the Cemetery at exactly 8.38 am, were lowered into the grave at exactly 11.05 am.

In his sermon, the officiating chaplain, Group Captain Rev Dogo Gani, urges the bereaved family to get strong and take solace in the fact that the fallen Heroine lived a life that made them and the nation proud.

The cleric also berated Nigerian successive administrations for not placing the high premium of value on young men and women who have been found to serve the country at the peak of patriotism, dedication, and commitment.

Gani noted Nigerian leadership has always used and dumped such patriots, a tradition he admonished those in authorities to stop.

Meanwhile, the Senate who on Thursday had observed a minute of silence in honour of late flying officer also called on the Airforce to erect a monument in her honour

The Red Chamber’s resolution was in response to a motion moved by Senator Smart Adeyemi, a Kogi state lawmaker.

Another federal lawmaker from Kogi state, Senator Jibrin Isah, also wants the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of her death.

The Nigerian Air Force first announced that the country’s first female combat helicopter pilot died from a road traffic accident at the NAF base in Kaduna State.

The air force said the female officer sustained head injuries from the accident when she was “inadvertently hit by the reversing vehicle of an excited former Air Force secondary school classmate while trying to greet her.”