The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, have extolled the virtues of the late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died in a car accident on Tuesday.
The CAS said he was heartbroken by the incident which occurred in Kaduna State.
Abubakar described the first female combat helicopter pilot in the history of the Nigerian Air Force as “one of our shining young stars”.
In a statement on Wednesday, Abubakar said Arotile was “a very intelligent, disciplined, confident and courageous young officer who added value wherever she served.”
He added, “As a squadron pilot in Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State, she flew her quota of anti-banditry combat missions to ensure a safer, more secured Nigeria.
So also, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, described the death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile as a shocking and devastating national tragedy.
The Kogi-born late Flying Officer hailed from the Ijumu Local Government Area of the state.
In a condolence message signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, Bello described Arotile as not only a combat pilot but a fantastic aviator who reached the sky in her professional calling at a very tender age of 23.
The statement partly read, “Late Flying Officer Arotile brought the country to a standstill on the 15th of October 2019 when she was decorated as the first female combat Helicopter Pilot. This was a huge honour to her family and state, the nation, and the entire women in the country and beyond.
“As a trained military aviator, with a blend of professionalism and patriotism, Arotile’s engagement in air-to-ground combat in rooting out armed bandits and other criminal elements in the country, particularly in the North Central region was a sacrifice that cannot be forgotten.