She performed creditably well in air; in a very hostile territory, in the middle of fortified enemies – Bandits of Satanic origin, operating both in Niger and Katsina States of Nigeria, and survived. She would always return back to Base smiling; a sort of air-to-ground successful “missile launch”.
Her maneuvering tactics “up there” in combat, was amasing, as testified by those that professionally monitored her. In her, a perfect beauty met an exotic air prowess, with such ferocious audacity; the type that rivaled Deborah’s heroine record in the Bible [recorded in Judges chapter 4]. In air, she did not die, even after terrorising the enemy to submission.
She came on ground, and was off duty, then a phone call came from “one of her officers”, as the sister later narrated, in ever-more tears of anguish. This caller “commanded” her to report to the Base, maybe “for a special assignment” – “land assignment it must be”, because she was off air duty.
She “did not fly to the Base” because she wasn’t in combat mood. Instead, the senior sister dropped her off, in a car that got to the Base by road.
On the road, in the Base, within community of “friends”, she died. Not from enemy fire but from a “friend’s” vehicle “attack”. Oh – a reversing car of an “old friend, in excitement”. That’s what killed her. She died.
Bringing to an ignominious end the hope of the world community of best aviators, dashed the hope of a country that proudly, in just about a year ago, presented its best air combatant, albeit of the female fork. Put an end to the historical recording of the Nigerian Defense Academy. Thrown Kogi State into perpetual dismay, but above all, reduced the joy of a family [the Arotile’s] to everlasting grief.
This is the sad story of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, who died on July 14, 2020. Many questions are waiting to be thrown into the web of the Nigerian Air Force Command Structure about what actually happened to their very First Best. There shall still be more interrogation to the modus operandi of death, because the narration, for now, is not clicking in accuracy of sensibility.
As her burial shall be taking place at the National burial Ground in Abuja, with full Military honour, on July 23, 2020, I shall be dedicating my program at Lagos Talks 91.3 FM, on Monday, July 20, 2020, to the memory of this Angel; who scores FIRST in everything, even in death – Flight Officer Tolulope Arotile.
Rest in Peace!