I spoke with my daughter at 1pm, four hours later she was in mortuary one week after operation against Kastina bandits,” retiree Elder Arotile cries out bitterly
- 24-year – old late pilot may be buried at the National Cemetery, Abuja
Akintunde Arotile, father of Tolulope Arotile, who at 23 year-old became the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in Nigeria’s history, has narrated how he broke he sad news of his daughter’s death to her mother.
Elder Arotile, a retired staff of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said in an interview that he spoke with Tolulope, who just returned from an operation against bandits in Kastina state, hours before her demise on Tuesday.
“Just yesterday (July 14) at about 1 p.m., I called her because she just came back from an operation against the bandits in Katsina.
“They gave them one week to rest and so she was sleeping and told me she was in bed resting, she said she will later go out to make some photocopies.
“I told her not to be long and to return home on time because she was staying with my first daughter in Kaduna.
“Around 5.30 p.m, somebody called me and asked if I had called her today and I said yes, then the person told me to call her, which I did, but no response.
“So, I called her colleagues, and they were all crying on phone. I asked what happened, they were just crying. So, I called one of her bosses, who told me that she is in the mortuary.
“I said ha! Somebody I spoke with four hours ago and by 5 p.m. she was in the mortuary.”
Elder Arotile, a 2019 retiree of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, said he drove from Abuja to Lokoja to break the sad news to his wife.
The late pilot, who died at 24, was a native of Kogi State.
Recall that Arotile was killed inside the NAF Base in Kaduna in an auto accident, when a former secondary school classmate, according to one account of her death, sighted her and applied the brake.
The ex-schoolmate, a female, was said to be reversing her vehicle to enable her appropriately greet Arotile, when she erroneously knocked her down.
She died from the head injury she sustained in the accident.
Elder Arotile said he was impressed by the outpouring of messages and support from the Nigeria Air Force and other Nigerians since the incident happened.
He said, “There have been several visits from her bosses from all over the country, including here in Lokoja, Abuja, Kaduna, Enugu and everywhere. The support has been overwhelming, they even gave a token and other promises.
“They have even promised to give a choice of where to bury her, but her commandant suggested that she should be buried at the National Cemetery, Abuja, due to the feat she achieved as the first female combatant helicopter pilot in Nigeria.”