The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today, 23 July 2020, laid to rest the body of late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, the NAF’s first female combat helicopter pilot, who died on 14 July 2020.
The Burial Ceremony, which was conducted with full military honours, was held at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja with restricted attendance in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. In a press release signed by IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force
23 July 2020 and made available to Outlook media said:
“The Honourable Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd), represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Mr Sabiu Zakari, presided over the Ceremony, which also had in attendance the Executive Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Yahaya Bello, amongst other dignitaries.
While reading a tribute to late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, the Representative of the Arotile Family and elder sister of the deceased, Mrs Damilola Adegboye, expressed gratitude to the NAF for the impact, training and expertise which, she said, set an excellent platform for Tolulope to outshine her peers.
“Because of their trust and investments, Tolulope showed exemplary skills too difficult to emulate”, she added. She highlighted that Tolulope had always dreamt of becoming a pilot.
She said the entire Arotile Family was grateful that the dream, though blurry at that time, was not only fulfilled but also resulted in great impact not only in the NAF but among family members, friends, colleagues and the entire Nation. She said this was because Tolulope was a determined, hardworking, godly and extremely focused person. She again expressed gratitude to the CAS and the entire NAF Family who, she said, would always remain treasured members of the Arotile Family.
Other key moments of the solemn event were the presentation of National Colours to the deceased’s Next-of-Kin by the CAS, I’mlaying of wreaths by dignitaries and the representative of the Arotile Family as well as the customary 21 Gun Salute and rendition of “the Last Post” by the NAF Band. The Faith Service had earlier been conducted by Group Captain (Reverend) Dogo Gani, Director Chaplaincy (Protestant) Headquarters NAF, before the casket was lowered into the ground.
Other dignitaries at the burial ceremony included the Chairman Senate Committee on Air Force, Distinguished Senator Bala Ibn Na’ Allah; Chairman House Committee on Air Force, Honourable Shehu Koko; Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen; Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq; Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Representatives of the Chiefs of Army and Naval Staff, along with other serving and retired senior military officers; Heads of Government Agencies, Senior Government Officials as well as family members and friends of the deceased officer.(Outlook Media).