Nigeria’s First Female Combat Pilot Dies Less Than One year After Decoration


Nigerian Air Force’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, has died in a road accident, less than one year after she was decorated as the first female combatant helicopter pilot.

NAF announced her death in a press statement, saying she died on Tuesday.

Arotile died from head injuries she sustained from a road accident which occurred at the NAF Base in Kaduna.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, described her death as an “irreparable loss,” the statement said.

Arotile, from Kogi State, recently completed a programme at the Starlite International Training Academy, South Africa. She had graduated as the best flight student from the Nigerian Air Force in 2017.

The deceased was one of the 13 pilots inducted at the NAF Headquarters, Abuja, on August 15, 2019, who were deployed in the North-East and other parts of the country for security operations.

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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