With heavy heart but to the total submission to the will of Almighty God, ourworldgist presents to you the “Life And Time Of First Nigerian Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.
Flying Officer Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile, was born on 13 December 1995 to the family of Mr and Mrs Akintunde Arotile in Kaduna,
She hails from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
She attended Air Force Primary School, Kaduna from 2000 – 2005 and Air Force Secondary School, Kaduna from 2006 – 2011 before she later gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna as a member of 64 Regular Course on 22 September 2012.
Flying Officer Arotile was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a Pilot Officer on 16 September 2017 and holds a Bachelor degree of Science in Mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy.
Tolulope also holds a commercial pilot license after underwent tactical flying training on the Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter in Italy.
Incidentally, she introduced the newly acquired Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, during the induction ceremony at Eagle Square in Abuja on 6 February 2020.
According to late Tolulope in a short video clip during her life time on earth, she said, “growing up as a child, my passion is always to be a military personnel because of what military represents… and also to test my strength among men”.
As ‘fate’ will have it, Tolulope’s career received light on 22nd December 2012 when she was admitted into Nigerian Airforce School Academy at Kaduna to pursue her dream career.
After rigorous academic cum technical trainings spinning between 2012 to 2017, Tolulope was commissioned on 16th September 2017 as the first female Nigerian Air Force Flying Officer.
This achievement within the age bracket of 20 years made headlines in top major media within and outside Africa as CNN and BBC were also parts of the media outfits to spot Tolulope’s unprecedented achievement at that tender age.
Tolulope’s commission into Nigerian Air Force ( NAF ) was a big boost to the fight against insurgents as she brought in so much vigour and latest technical know how along innovation to combat the insurgents.
As if everything was going on well with Tolulope until on Tuesday 14th July 2020 when her death was announced following what the media outfit of Kaduna Air force base described as “accidental hint” by one of Tolulope’s exciting mate who hit her when trying to make a reverse …”
Recall that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) made history on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 with the decoration of the first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, and first female fighter pilot, Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni, with their pilot wings.
Her death came barely a year after she was winged as a combat helicopter pilot in the Air Force following the completion of her course in South Africa and Italy respectively.
Confirming the accident, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said until her death, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile Don who was commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 64, was the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in the service.
He said: “During her short but impactful stay in the service, late Tolulope Arotile, who hails from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, 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.
Tolulope Arotile Don who until her demise remained single and survived by her parents, and many siblings.
From all of us at ourworldgist, this is wishing late Tolulope’s immediate family, the good people of Kogi State and Nigeria in general irreparable to bear this loss.
Sani Michael Omakoji