Nigeria's First Female NAF Flying Officer is dead

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Officer Tolulope Arotile

Nigerian Air Force (NAF) flying officer Tolulope Arotile is dead. Arotile, first ever female combat helicopter pilot in Nigeria, died at 23.

According to NAF, Kogi-born Arotile died in a road traffic accident at Nigerian Air Force Base Kaduna on Tuesday, July 14.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) made history on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 with the decoration of the first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, and first female fighter pilot, Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni, with their pilot wings. The two female NAF pilots were decorated alongside 11 other young officers after successful completion of their flying training courses. Her death came barely a year after she was winged as a combat helicopter pilot in the Air Force following the completion of her course in South Africa.

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Confirming the accident, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said 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.‬

He said: “During her short but impactful stay in the service, late Arotile, who hails from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, 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. “The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the family of late ‪Flying Officer Arotile‬ over this irreparable loss. We pray that the Almighty God grant her soul eternal rest.”

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