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‘more female pilots to battle B’Haram, bandits’

Posted by GPmulticoncept on July 18, 2020
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Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

With the shocking death of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, the Nigerian Military is consoled that more female pilots will join the counter terrorism war which the late pilot was committed to.

Eleven female pilots are currently concluding flying trainings both within and outside the country, the Nigerian Air Force has disclosed.

Arotile was knocked down by a reversing vehicle driven by her old schoolmate at the NAF Base in Kaduna.

Receiving a delegation from the National Assembly on a condolence visit, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar, assured that the Military will work assiduously to hasten the defeat of Boko Haram terrorists and the armed bandits terrorising parts of the country as a honour in memory of late Arotile and all others who had paid the supreme price before her ‘in defence of our beloved nation”.

Abubakar noted that her contributions through combat missions conducted along with her colleagues in the fight against armed banditry and other criminal activities in the country would never be forgotten.

He said that the Service will continue to be consoled by the legacy she left behind, adding that her performance justified NAF’s decision to give equal opportunities to female personnel.

According to him, “the NAF, in honour of her memory as well as all those who had paid the supreme price before her, would continue to work assiduously to ensure success in the fight against terrorism, banditry and other security threats for the overall peace and prosperity of a united Nigeria”.

He noted further that ‘the NAF would never forget her, “not only because she was the first female combat helicopter pilot in the Service, but because of her legacy as a very intelligent, highly committed and extremely patriotic officer who excelled in virtually every endeavour.”

The CAS recalled that during her basic helicopter course in South Africa, she was selected, because of her excellent performance, to undergo a more advanced flying course on the Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter in Italy before returning to finish the basic course along with her other colleagues in South Africa, stating that “such was her commitment to excellence on the job”.

“This was what gave us confidence to assign her to introduce the Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, during the induction ceremony at the Eagle Square in Abuja on 6 February 2020; which she did excellently,” he disclosed.

READ ALSO: Tolulope Arotile: Too early for hangar in the sky, by Femi Adesina

While noting that when it comes to displaying excellence and adding value to the society, age or gender should not be barriers, Air Marshal Abubakar said that Flying Officer Arotile had left her mark in the sands of time.

He assured that the NAF would continue to give equal opportunities to female officers in terms of training and capacity building.

Meanwhile a high-powered delegation, composed of the Chief of Air Staff, Minister of Women Affairs as well as the Chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Air Force, has been scheduled to visit to the Arotile Family in Lokoja to commiserate with them on a yet to be announced date before the burial.

Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola in a statement said that those who paid condolence visit to the service include Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen and her Information and Culture counterpart, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Others were the joint delegation from the upper and lower houses of the National Assembly, comprising 20 members, who were led by the Chairman Senate Committee on Air Force, Distinguished Senator Bala Ibn-Na’Allah, and the Chairman House Committee on the Air Force, Hon. Shehu Koko.

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