President Muhammadu Buhari; President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday mourned Nigeria’s first female combatant helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile.
The father of the late combatant pilot, Mr. Akintude Arotile has also described her death as shocking and devastating to the entirely family members.
Buhari said he received with deep pain the untimely death and condoled with her family.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president lamented the loss of the promising officer, whose short stay on earth, he said, impacted greatly on the nation, especially in the area of peace and security.
Adesina said the president saluted Arotile’s bravery while in the field to protect the country from the onslaught of bandits and terrorists and assured that her memory would be indelible, and her efforts ever remembered.
He also said the president also commiserated with the Nigerian Air Force, airmen, airwomen and all friends of the deceased, recalling her deft skills in manoeuvring combat helicopters, which he said he had physically witnessed with pride.
On his part, Lawan has expressed shock and sadness at the tragic news of the death of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.
Lawan, in a statement said despite her brief service, the deceased left indelible footprints as a dedicated officer and Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.
FEC has also extended deepest and heartfelt condolences to Buhari, the Chief of Air Staff, the Arotile family and people of Ife Community in ljumu Local Government Area of Kogi State on the death of Arotile.
The commiseration was conveyed in a condolence letter issued last night by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha. In his condolence message, Bello described her death as shocking, devastating and a national tragedy.
In the message signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, the Kogi State governor described Arotile as not only a combat pilot but a fantastic aviator who reached the sky in her professional calling at a very tender age of 23.
Meanwhile, the father of the late combatant pilot, Arotile has described her death as shocking and devastating.
Speaking in an interview with journalists at the family house in Lokoja, Kogi State capital yesterday, Arotile, an engineer, who worked with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), expressed gratitude to Nigerians for their condolences to the family.
“I must say that I am really impressed by the outpouring of sympathy and support. There have been several visits from her bosses from all over the country, including here in Lokoja, Abuja, Kaduna, Enugu and everywhere. The support has been overwhelming; they even gave a token and promised that later they would do something; they have even promised to give a choice of where to bury her, but her commandant suggested that she should be buried at the National Cemetery in Abuja because of the number of people that will attend the funeral and due to the feat she had achieved as the first female combatant pilot in Nigeria,” he explained.