THE Nigerian Airforce (NAF) on Sunday released findngs of its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, who died in a car accident on July 14 at the NAF base in Kaduna State.
Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information disclosed that Arotile was knocked down by a Kia Sorento SUV, with Registration Number AZ 478 MKA, driven by a former classmate, Nehemiah Adejoh.
Daramola said the 23-year-old pilot died shortly after being knocked down by the car which was occupied by three former classmates of Arotile: Mr Igbekele Folorunsho, Mr Festus Gbayegun and Adejoh, the driver of the vehicle.
“Mr Nehemiah Adejoh, Mr Igbekele Folorunsho and Mr Festus Gbayegun, drove past her in a Kia Sorento SUV, with Registration Number AZ 478 MKA. It is noteworthy that Messrs Adejoh, Folorunsho and Gbayegun are all civilians who live outside NAF Base Kaduna, but were on their way to visit one Mrs Chioma Ugwu, wife of Squadron Leader Chukwuemeka Ugwu, who lives at Ekagbo Quarters on the Base.
“Upon recognising their schoolmate, Arotile, after passing her, Mr Adejoh, who was driving, reversed the vehicle, ostensibly in an attempt to quickly meet up with the deceased, who was walking in the opposite direction.
“In the process, the vehicle struck Flying Officer Arotile from the rear, knocking her down with significant force and causing her to hit her head on the pavement. The vehicle then ran over parts of her body as it veered off the road beyond the kerb and onto the pavement, causing her further injuries,” Daramola said.
Arotile was rushed to the hospital at the NAF base in Kaduna but was pronounced dead moments later.
Daramola disclosed that the three ex-classmates were immediately arrested and it was found that Adejoh did not have a valid license.
He added that the matter would be passed to the Police Force, being a civil case.
Meanwhile, the family of Arotile, Afenifere, a Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation and a group of civil society organisations under the aegis of Joint National Action Civil Society Coalition, had earlier demanded a corona inquest into the death of Arotile.
Their demands were that the Federal Government, the Nigerian Armed Forces, and the Nigerian Police should undertake a thorough investigation into the death of the young officer, who, before her death, was instrumental in Nigeria’s fight against insecurity, particularly in the North West and North Central regions.