The Senate, Thursday, condoled the family of late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile who was killed in a motor accident on July 14, 2020, at the Nigerian Air Force base Kaduna.
The Senate also consoled with the governor and government of her home state, Governor Yahaya Bello and the people of Kogi State for her loss.
This was after the Senate observed a minute silence for the repose of her soul after considering a motion moved by Senator Smart Adeyemi and entitled: Demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.
Senator Adeyemi also urged the Nigerian Airforce to immortalise the first female combat helicopter pilot of the nation by naming any of the Airforce Edifice after her or an institution of learning in Ijumu Local government.
Senator Adeyemi had in his motion to the Senate said the upper legislative chamber noted with grief the death of Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile on Tuesday, 14th July 2020 in what it described as a freak accident at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna at the age of 24.
Detailing her short but impactful stint in the Nigerian Airforce which made her a national asset Adeyemi said that “Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile was winged as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot at the Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Abuja on 15 October 2019, after completing her flying training in South Africa.
“Recalls also that Flying Officer Arotile underwent tactical flying training on the Augusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter in Italy, and holds a commercial pilots’ licence;
“Recalls further that on 6 February 2020, she introduced the Air Force’s newly-acquired Augusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari during the induction ceremony at the Eagle Square, Abuja;
“She served the nation as a Squadron Pilot at the 405 Helicopter Combat Training Group, Enugu, attached to the Air Component of Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State; had recently completed her Promotion Examination and was awaiting her next deployment;
“Also as a participant in the GAMA AIKI in Niger State, she flew her quota of anti-banditry combat missions to ensure a safer and more secured Nigeria and that before her untimely death, she made significant and outstanding contributions to the war against terrorism, armed banditry and other forms of criminality in the country;
“Aware that Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile in her own words: ”I joined the military simply out of a passion for it. Being military personnel has been a long time ambition, the carriage and what it stands for are simply exceptional”
“Aware also that Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile possessed deft skills as a combat helicopter pilot and truly earned the accolades from the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, who described her as “ a very intelligent, disciplined, confident and courageous young officer who added value wherever she served Senator Adeyemi stated.
The Kogi West senator also stated that the late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, was a shining young star in the “Nigeria’s Air Force combat flying missions and her sad demise has reduced the ranks the Air Force’s female pilots to six, thus she deserves to be memorialised in Nigeria’s history. ”
On his part, Senator Isa Jibril representing Kogi Central called for another full investigation by the Nigerian Airforce as according to him, the Mann of her death was suspicious and leaves one in doubt that it was just an accident.