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A tribute to Tolulope Arotile: 7 facts about Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot

On Tuesday July 14, Nigeria was hit with the unfortunate news that 24 year old Tolulope Arotile, the country’s first female combat helicopter pilot was killed in a freak car accident. Tolulope who was an exemplary figure and a pioneer woman especially in the fight against insurgency in the country, died of head injuries sustained after a former school friend accidentally reversed into her while she was trying to greet her.

Her death drew several condolence messages and commemorations from both prominent and ordinary Nigerians. The likes Senators  Abike Dabiri and Shehu Sani chief of staff Air Marshal Abubakar and president Buhari to mention a few, sent out messages, recognizing the selfless service she rendered to the country.

In honour of her and all she did and achieved below are seven facts about Tolulope Arotile.


1. Tolulope Arotile hailed from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State

2. She attended Air Force Primary and Secondary Schools in Kaduna. She joined the Nigerian Air Force 401 Flying training school Kaduna on the 22nd of December 2012, and  graduated on the 16th of September 2017, becoming an officer in the force.

3. Tolulope graduated as the best flight student from her set in 2017

4. Flying Officer Arotile was commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 64

5. She was selected to train at the Starlite International Training Academy South Africa, following her performance during her initial flying training course at 401 Flying Training School Kaduna.

6. She was decorated as the first female fighter helicopter pilot on October 15, 2019, at which time she had acquired 460 hours of flight within 14 months in helicopter.

7. She contributed significantly to the efforts to rid the North Central States of armed bandits and other criminal elements by flying several combat missions under Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State.

May her soul rest in peace.

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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