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Buhari mourns young airforce helicopter pilot, salutes Arotile’s bravery

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the Airforce, and friends of the country’s first female combat helicopter pilot, flying officer, Tolulope Arotile who died on July 14 at the NAF base, Kaduna.

“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”, a statement by the presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina read.

Buhari also sympathised with the government and people of Kogi State on the loss of such a promising officer, proudly recalling how skillful she was in manoeuvring combat helicopters.

Late Tolulope Arotile, President Muhammadu Buhari and other dignitaries at the induction of combat helicopters in Abuja on February 6th 2020. /NAF

Similarly, Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, in a condolence message said “we have lost a brave, gallant, courageous and patriotic Nigerian at a time when her service is needed most to upscale the tempo of Counter Terrorism and war against banditry plaguing the nations security architecture”.

“The deceased rendered an impactful but short service to the nation pointing out that the nation should be consoled by the maxim which says it is not how far but how well that matters in the voyage of life at personal, interpersonal and national levels”, Magashi added.

In the same vein, Late Arotile’s state governor, Kogi’s Yahaya Bello described her death as a national tragedy.  

 “We are devastated by the tragic death of this young promising lady who took bravery to the next level, demystified prejudicial stereotype and flew her parents, state and nation high in honour and professionalism.’’ the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, said in a statement.

“On behalf of the state, I commiserate with the family of late Flying Officer Arotile over this irreparable loss, and I pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest; she will be sorely missed,”, Governor Bello said.

Former Senate President Bukola Saraki also expressed his condolence on the death of Tolulope Arotile in his tweet, saying she was a model to many.

Meanwhile, Father of the deceased, Engineer Akintunde Arotile, has described her as a very intelligent and purpose-driven young woman right from a young age.  

“Sometimes, I wondered what type of IQ she had. She combined intelligence with hard work”. He told PUNCH.

Arotile said he had spoken with his daughter earlier before her demise at 1pm, but later received the shocking news of her death four hours later.

 “I just thank God that she was able to achieve her dreams as a baby before her death”, Her father said.

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