The death of Tolulope Arotile has left her parents and Nigerians totally devastated. She died after being struck by a reversing car in the airforce base in Kaduna.
Mr. Akintunde Arotile, the father of late Nigeria’ s first female combatant helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, said he spoke with her a few hours before her sudden death on Tuesday.
Arotile told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja on Wednesday that he was shocked to receive the news of her death a few hours later.
“Just yesterday (July 14) at about 1 p.m., I called her because she just came back from an operation against the bandits in Katsina.
“They gave them one week to rest and so she was sleeping and told me she was in bed resting, she said she would later go out to make some photocopies.
“I told her not to be long and to return home on time because she was staying with my first daughter in Kaduna.
“Around 5.30 p.m, Somebody called me and asked if…”
Recalling the early days of his late daughter, Mr Akotile said, “She has not just been brilliant but wonderful. She did all her education from kindergarten to nursery at the Air Force base and Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna.
“One day, when she was very small, she pointed to one small aircraft packed on the field and said one day she was going to fly that aircraft, and I said Amen.
“So, from that day she started working towards getting admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna. She had a degree in Mathematics and became an Air Force Cadet.
“From there, she was sent on several courses abroad and became a pilot.
“I thank God that she was able to achieve her dreams as a baby before her death.”
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.
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