Group calls for probe into cause of NAF pilot’s death

A GROUP of civil society organisations under the aegis of Joint National Action Civil Society Coalition has called for probe into the unfortunate death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.

Arotile died on July 14, following an auto accident which occured at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) base in Kaduna State, according to Director of Public Relations and Information for the NAF, Ibikunle Daramola.

In a statement released on Friday and sighted by The ICIR, the group urged the Federal Government, the Nigerian Armed Forces, and the Nigerian Police to undertake a thorough investigation into the death of  the young officer, who died aged 23.

“Given the strategic importance of her position to national security, and the various versions of how her death occurred that have emerged in the public domain, we call on the Federal Government, the Nigerian Armed Forces, and the Nigerian Police, to undertake a thorough investigation, including commissioning a coroner’s inquest into her death,” the statement read in part.

Questions have been raised about the circumstance surrounding the death of Arotile, who before her death was instrumental in Nigeria’s fight against insecurity, particularly in the Northwest and North Central regions.



    As a squadron pilot, Arotile who was winged as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot eight months before her passing, was known as a great contributor to the fight against banditry and terrorism in the country.

    The group in its statement submitted that Arotile could have been a target of ‘criminal elements’, demanding that an exhaustive inquest into the cause of her death is carried out.

    Similarly, the family of the deceased and Afenifere, Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation have demanded probe into the cause of death of the young officer.

    Meanwhile, the The NAF on Friday said that Arotile will be laid to rest with “full military honours at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.”

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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