Wednesday, July 15, 2020 9:41 pm
Prominent officials of the Kogi State Government have mourned the loss of Tolulope Arotile, a Flying Officer and indigene of the State who died Tuesday in an accident.
The State Governor Yahaya Bello described her death as shocking and devastating.
In a condolence message by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, Bello said Arotile’s death is a national disaster.
“It was with great sorrow and shock that I received the news about the passing of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, the first female combat helicopter pilot in the history of the Nigerian Airforce.
“Late Flying Officer Arotile brought the country to a standstill on the 15th of October 2019 when she was decorated as the first female combat helicopter pilot. This was a huge honour to her family and state, the nation, and the entire women in the country and beyond.
“As a trained military aviator, with a blend of professionalism and patriotism, Arotile’s engagement in air-to-ground combat in rooting out armed bandits and other criminal elements in the country, particularly in the North Central region was a sacrifice that cannot be forgotten.
“We are devastated by the tragic death of this young promising lady who took bravery to the next level, demystified prejudicial stereotype and flew her parents, state and nation high in honour and professionalism,” the Governor said.
While extolling the virtue of the late young Flying Officer, Bello said “at the age of 23, late Arotile has woven her own story into the Nigerian folklore as a patriot who died in defence of her nation.”
Reacting to Arotile’s demise, Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief Edward Onoja described the late combat helicopter pilot as an inspiration to all girl child in Nigeria.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Promise Emmanuel, Onoja said Arotile died as a hero. According to the Deputy Governor, Arotile who is a native of Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State has contributed to the gallantry of the Nigerian Armed Forces, sending bandits to hell.
He describes her death as a great loss to the nation and Kogi State, praying that God would console the family and the people of Kogi state for the great loss.
“I am consoled by the truth that life’s impact is not measured by number of days, but how well and impactful we lived the days alloted. You inspire me Omo Okun. Sun reee,” he said.
In the same vein, Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Prince Matthew Kolawole said it is devastating, sad and painful to lose a young combat helicopter pilot that was commissioned barely three years ago in the Nigerian Air Force.
Kolawole described her death at this time as a big blow to the fight against insurgency in the country. He described the late Flying Officer, Arotile Tolulope as one of the young officers that have made Kogi State proud in recent time, adding that her untimely demise will linger in the minds of all forever.
He sympathized and condoled with the immediate family of Arotile, Chief of Air Staff and the leadership of Nigerian Air Force, government and people of Kogi State, stressing that she will be greatly missed.
He said it is disheartening and painful to lose such a great mind that devoted all her life to the service of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation, noting that her sudden demise has created a great vacuum that will be hard to fill.