According to a report by The PUNCH, the Senate on Thursday, observed a minute silence in honour of the late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, the first female combat helicopter pilot of the Nigerian Air Force.
The red chamber also condoled with the Arotile family, the Nigerian Air Force, Governor Yahaya Bello and the people of Kogi State.
This was sequel to a point of order raised on the floor of the Senate about her demise by the representative of the Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi,
The red chamber did not approve an additional prayer by Adeyemi who sought his colleagues’ approval for a monument to be named after the late Arotile at her local community in Kogi State.
The representative of of Kogi East Senatorial District, Senator Jibrin Issah, called for a full scale investigation into the death of Arotile.
Adeyemi had urged the Senate to note with grief, the death of Arotile who died on Tuesday, 14th July, 2020 in a freak accident at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna at the age of 24;
He added that the late Flying Officer 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.
He said, “Flying Officer Arotile who hailed from Ife in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, was born on 13th December 1995 to the family of Mr and Mrs Akintunde Arotile in Kaduna. She attended Air Force Primary School, Kaduna from 2006-2011.
“In September 2012, she gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, where she was a member of 64 Regular Course.
“Flying Officer Arotile who was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a Pilot Officer on 16 September 2017, holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy.
“Flying Officer Arotile underwent tactical flying training on the Augusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter in Italy, and holds a commercial pilots’ licence.
“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.
“She had recently completed her Promotion Examination and was awaiting her next deployment.
“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.
“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;
“Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile in her own words said, “I joined the military simply out of passion for it. Being a military personnel has been a long time ambition, the carriage and what it stands for are simply exceptional”
“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.
“Abubakar described her as “a very intelligent, disciplined, confident and courageous young officer who added value wherever she served”;
“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 memorialized in the Nigeria’s history.”