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Nigeria’s First Female Combat Helicopter Pilot Dies



Tolulope Arotile

Ganiyat Ganiyu

Nigerian Air Force’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, has died.

Arotile died in a road accident on Tuesday, July 14.

The deceased was said to have sustained head injuries from the road accident which occurred at the NAF Base in Kaduna.

Her demise was communicated in a statement by the NAF.

The statement quoted the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as describing her death as an “irreparable loss”.

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She died barely a year after she was decorated as the first female combatant helicopter pilot in Nigeria.

The statement read, “It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died today (Tuesday), 14 July 2020, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna.

“Until her death, ‪Flying Officer Arotile, who was commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 64, was the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Service.‬

“During her short but impactful stay in the Service, the late Arotile contributed significantly to the efforts to rid the North Central States of armed bandits and other criminal elements by flying several combat missions under Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State.

“We pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest.”

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