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Nigeria’s first female NAF combatant helicopter pilot dies of head injury months after special recognition



Tolulope Arotile, the first female helicopter pilot in the history of the Nigerian Air Force has died 8 months after she was given a special recognition. 

Arotile who was decorated alongside Kafayat Sanni, the first female fighter pilot, by Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff died on Tuesday July 14, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at the Nigerian Air Force base in Kaduna state.

The military officer who had just ended a programme at the Starlite International Training Academy in South Africa, did not recover from the injuries sustained in the accident.

A statement released by the Nigerian Air Force read; “It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died today, 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, late Arotile, who hailed 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 the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf of 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 grants her soul eternal rest.”

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