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Its no longer news that the Nigeria Airforce and Nigeria as a nation has lost a heroine who would have become a world champion. Flying officer TOLULOPE OLUWATOYIN SARAH AROTILE was born on the 13th December 1995 to the family of Mr and Mrs Akintunde Arotile in Kaduna. Flying Officer Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile, hails from 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 of Science degree in Mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy. She was winged as the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force on 15 October 2019 after completing her flying training in South Africa. She holds a commercial pilots’ license and also 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 the Eagle Square in Abuja on 6 February 2020.

Flying Officer Arotile died on 14 July 2020 at the age of 24, when she was inadvertently hit the reversing vehicle of an excited former Air Force Secondary School classmate while trying to greet her. Before her untimely death, Flying Officer Arotile made significant and outstanding contributions to the war against terrorism, armed banditry and other forms of criminality in the Country, undertaking several combat missions. Flying Officer Arotile joined the Nigerian Air Force out of passion for the job. In her words “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”.

May her soul rest in peace

Credit: Nigerian Airforce HQ

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