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Buhari, Reps, NAF mourn first female combat pilot

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President Muhammadu Buhari and his wife, Aisha, have expressed shock over the demise of Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile, condoling with her family on the loss of such a promising officer.

While Buhari saluted Arotile’s bravery in the field to protect the country from bandits, he assured that she would ever be remembered.

The president, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, also sympathised with the government and people of Kogi State on the loss.

On her part, Aisha described the death of Arotile, the first female Nigerian combat helicopter pilot, as heartbreaking.

“The deceased was an intelligent young woman, a huge potential, a representative of both Nigerian women and youth, and what they could achieve,” she added.

The House of Representatives also joined Nigerians in mourning Arotile.

Chairman of the House Committee on Air Force, Mr. Shehu Koko (APC, Kano), described the deceased as a heroine.

He prayed God to grant her soul eternal rest.

The Kogi-born pilot died as a result of head injuries sustained from a road mishap on Tuesday at NAF Base in Kaduna State.

The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) yesterday paid tribute to the late pilot.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sidique Abubakar, in a statement, described Arotile as a disciplined, intelligent and courageous officer whose loss was irreparable for the force.

He submitted that the late 23-year-old officer was a shining star.

“I was heartbroken when I received the sad news of the death of Arotile yesterday in Kaduna.

“Tolulope (Arotile), who was winged in October 2019 as the first female NAF combat helicopter pilot, was one of our shining young stars,” he added.

Commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Arotile died eight months after she was commissioned as a combat helicopter pilot.


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