The remains of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, have been buried amidst tributes at the Military Cemetery in Abuja.
She was accorded full Military honours as the hierarchy of the Nigerian Military led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, paid tributes.
The remains were lowered into the grave at exactly 11.05 am.
Arotile, who died on July 14 in Kaduna, was buried in strict compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said.
She died from severe injuries following a freak road accident at the NAF base in Kaduna, the Air Force has said.
The driver that hit her was reportedly a former secondary school classmate who, in the process of reversing his car to allegedly give her a lift knocked down the deceased.
She was a member of the 64 Regular Course at the Nigerian Defence Academy and enlisted into the Nigerian Air Force in 2017.
The 24-year-old was winged as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot in 2019.
In a sermon by the graveside, Group Captain (Rev) Dogo Barri Gani, Director Chaplaincy Protestant, Nigerian Air Force, described the late pilot as a woman with exceptional courage and determination to fight evils.
Reciting from the book of Isaiah, the cleric lamented that “it is always a devastating time when ones who hold promises for tomorrow are vanishing”.
He enjoined the political class to take deliberate actions to ensure the dreams of determined young come true.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar, noted the late Arotile broke many odds to attain the height she did in the Service.
He said that the Service had many expectations of her, which he observed she dutifully met.
“As a Service, we had so many expectations for Tolulope which she was almost living up to with ease.
“Though she is no longer with us, I must say that her short stay with us was very impactful.
“She carried out her assignments both on ground and in the air with a high sense of professionalism, commitment and confidence. Her memory will remain indelible in our minds,” Abubakar said.
He enjoined the family of the late pilot to take solace in the fact that the entire nation is standing with them at this moment of grief, adding that “there is no better consolation than to know that the whole nation is grieving with you.”