There’s a tinge of irony within the method Nigeria’s first feminine fight helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, died. As a fight pilot, she operated within the conflict zone a lot of her brief however eventful profession within the Nigerian Air Pressure (NAF).
She had thus walked by way of the scriptural valley of the shadow of loss of life many instances and got here out unscathed.
She had many instances undertaken ghoulish, hair-raising expeditions to the enemies’ territories, manoeuvred her steel fighter hen in deft acrobatics and returned to base unharmed; just for her to finish all of it in a freak automobile accident. What a tragic irony!
The 24-year-old fight pilot was stated to have been hit on the NAF Base in Kaduna on July 14, by a Sport Utility Automobile (SUV) pushed by a former classmate who had wished to greet her.
The ex-classmate, recognized as Mr Nehemiah Adejoh, was reversing the automobile to change pleasantries together with her when he inadvertently hit her.
The influence brought about her to fall down and hit her head on the tarmac, sustaining critical accidents within the course of. She finally died on the 461 NAF Hospital, Kaduna, the place she was receiving remedy.
The late Flying Officer Arotile hailed from Ijumu space of Kogi State, however was born in Kaduna on December 13, 1995, to Mr and Mrs Akintunde Arotile.
She attended Air Pressure Main College, Kaduna, from 2000 to 2005 and the Air Pressure Secondary College, Kaduna, from 2005 to 2011.
She then proceeded to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, as a member of the 64 Common Course on September 22, 2012.
She obtained her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) diploma in Arithmetic from NDA and was consequently commissioned into the NAF as a pilot officer on September 16, 2017.
Arotile was winged as the primary feminine fight helicopter pilot within the NAF on October 15, 2019, after finishing her flying coaching in South Africa.
That recognition shot her into stardom, having operated in a terrain thought-about as a males’s territory. And he or she made a hit of it.
She joined the navy out of sheer ardour. She had nursed that ambition from childhood. “I joined the navy,” she was quoted as saying, “merely out of ardour.
Being a navy personnel has been a very long time ambition; the carriage and what it stands for are merely distinctive.” And true to her phrases, that zeal was to later ennoble her gritty doggedness to excel as a fight pilot.
Younger, courageous and clever, Arotile gave her all to the career she had beloved a lot from childhood. It was as if she was racing in opposition to time; she packed a lot worth inside so transient a spell.
Her loss of life was actually a tragic loss to the navy and the nation, particularly at the moment when distinctive arms are wanted to tame a band of egregious insurgents and bandits who’ve been despoiling many components of the nation.
The flurry of tributes which were paid to the late 24-year-old fight pilot depict the depth of the loss.
First, her Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, stated Arotile’s transient life impacted on the nation immensely. A press release issued by his Particular Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, stated, inter alia: “President Muhammadu Buhari obtained with deep ache the passing of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, condoling with the household on the lack of such a promising officer, whose keep on earth impacted vastly on the nation, particularly in peace and safety.
“The President salutes Arotile’s bravery within the discipline to guard the nation from the onslaught of bandits and terrorists, assuring that her reminiscence can be indelible and her efforts remembered.”
The NAF, in its personal tribute, stated the late Arotile “contributed properly to destroying bandits within the north central states and different prison components by flying a number of fight missions below Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State”.
The Chief of Air Workers, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in an emotion-laden tribute, stated: “I used to be heart-broken after I obtained the unhappy information. Tolulope, who was winged in October, 2019 as the primary feminine fight helicopter pilot, was one of many shinning younger stars.
“She was a really clever, disciplined, assured and brave younger officer who added worth wherever she served.
As a squadron pilot in Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State, she flew her quota of anti-banditry fight missions to make sure a safer, safer Nigeria”.
Expectedly, her loss of life has generated suspicion and requires a probe of the circumstances of her loss of life. Her household, the Yoruba World Congress(YWC) in addition to Human Writers Affiliation of Nigeria(HURIWA), amongst others, all suspected foul play and demanded an intensive investigation to clear the air over the style of her loss of life. That is fairly comprehensible given the sudden, tragic finish to a promising profession.
Nevertheless, it could appear to us that the report of the preliminary investigation into Arotile’s loss of life, launched on July 19 by NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Data, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, appears credible. However NAF ought to hand over the civil facet of the case to the police as promised.
The suspects, particularly Adejoh, who drove the automobile that killed Arotile and not using a legitimate driver’s licence, have to be prosecuted.