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Buhari, Nigerians mourn the sad loss of First Female Combat Helicopter Pilot, Tolulope Arotile

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Tolulope Arotile was a young woman with a bright future ahead of her. The 23-year-old who grew up in Kaduna State started her journey as a military official from a young age when she started her education at the Nigerian Airforce Primary School in Kaduna. She went on to the Airforce Secondary School and had always known that she wanted to be a member of the Nigerian military.

On September 22 2012, Tolulope started at the Nigerian Defence Academy. On September 16, 2017, at the young age of 20, Tolulope was commissioned into the Nigerian Airforce (NAF) and after a little over two years in service she was decorated by the Chief of the Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar as the first female combat helicopter pilot in the history of the Nigerian Air Force.

Sadly, less than a year later, it’s been reported that Tolulope Arotile was killed in a road accident at the Nigerian Air Force base in Kaduna State. The loss of such a promising young Nigerian is devastating to say the least.

In a statement released by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) via Twitter, Arotile was described as having had a “short but impactful stay in the Service.”

See tweets below:

Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar also released a statement via Twitter, where he described Arotile as “a very intelligent, disciplined, confident & courageous young officer who added value wherever she served.”

See his tweets below:

President Muhammadu Buhari has now released a statement expressing his sadness over this loss via the Twitter account of his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

The statement reads,

President Muhammadu Buhari received with deep pain the passing of Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile, condoling with the family on loss of such a promising officer, whose short stay on earth impacted greatly on the nation, especially in peace and security. The President salutes Arotile’s bravery in the field to protect the country from onslaught of bandits and terrorists, assuring that her memory will be indelible, and her efforts remembered.President Buhari commiserates with the Nigerian Air Force, airmen, airwomen and all friends of the deceased, recalling her deft skills in manoeuvring combat helicopters, which he had physically witnessed with pride.The President sympathises with government and people of Kogi State on the loss.President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed, and comfort the family she left behind.”

Ever since the news dropped, many Nigerians, including prominent personalities like Femi Gbajabiamila and Shehu Sani, have expressed their sadness.

See some reactions below:

This is one loss that is truly shocking to us all and we commiserate with her family and loved ones.

Photo Credit: @NigAirForce

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