Ten months after the death of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, the family of Late Tolulope Arotile is demanding quick investigation and justice.
Arotile was 24 years old when she died in an accident which occurred on July 14, 2020, at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) base in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria.
The deceased father, Akintunde Arotile, made this known at an event organised by the Government of Kogi State (North-Central Nigeria), and the unveiling of a cinema movie project in Tolulope’s honour.
Akintunde said he is yet to heal over the sad incident, adding that he is more disturbed by the prolonged case investigating his daughter’s death.
According to him, his wife who is Tolulope’s mother is more disturbed as she daily laments over the delayed case with justice yet to be served after 10 months.
He said, “We are trying as a family to put a closure to the whole thing particularly with the case that is still in court.
“Up till now, it has not been easy. If the case has been concluded we will try and see if we can put a closure to that chapter and we will just mourn her till maybe when I and my wife will die.
“But the case is still on. I don’t even know when the next hearing will be. My wife is so disturbed because of that.
“It’s like you have an open wound that is not healing. If the case is concluded, our minds will be at rest.”
The Deceased Father stressed that their minds will be put to rest if justice can be served as soon as possible.
He lamented, “To show that you cannot just kill a serving officer, a pilot in the Air Force Base premises and the case is being treated as nobody.
“You know our normal judicial service system, the case keeps dragging on…that is a problem for us.”
In July 2020, NAF released its preliminary report on the death of Tolulope in a car accident at their base in Kaduna.
The Force in the report disclosed that she was killed by her friend who mistakenly hit her with his vehicle.
The Air Force Spokesperson, Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement containing the report said,
“Upon recognising their schoolmate, Arotile, after passing her, 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,”
After the release of the preliminary investigation, the Air Force handed over the suspects, Nehemiah Adejoh, Igbekele Folorunsho, and Festus Gbayegun to the Nigeria Police.
The news of Arotile’s death shook the nation, leaving many saddened by her demise at the prime of her life.
In September, NAF immortalised Arotile by naming a Pilot’s Crew Room after her.