By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt, Sept. 22, 2020 The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) says it has immortalised the late Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female helicopter combatant pilot.
The military outfit said it immortalised Arotile by naming a remodelled Pilots Crew Room at the 115 Special Operations Group in Port Harcourt, after the late combatant pilot.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, announced this at the inauguration of the accommodation block at the NAF base in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Abubakar, who also inaugurated a newly-built Senior Non-Commissioned Officers’ quarters and a water project, praised Arotile for her outstanding contributions to securing the country.
“The late Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile, who was the first female combat helicopter pilot in the history of the Nigeria Air Force, died on July 14, at the age of 24.
“It is with mixed feelings that we are having the pilot crew room here at the Nigeria Air Force’s home of combat helicopters, named in her honour.
“The immortalisation of Arotile is also significant such that it addresses another area of our policy thrust of assuring our personnel that their sacrifices will never be in vain.
Abubakar said that NAF would continue to immortalise personnel who paid the supreme price in service to the country to ensure their memories remained fresh in the minds of Nigerians.
He said that after the death of Arotile, many young Nigerian girls had since indicated interest in joining the Air Force.
“Also, since Arotile’s demise, no fewer than 12 female officers, who have undoubtedly been motivated by her inspirational life, are currently undergoing flying training to become NAF pilots.
“So, it could be said that the late flying officer is living in the lives of those coming after her.
“To this end, I encourage more of our young girls to aspire for career opportunities in the Nigeria Air Force, as there is no limit to what they can achieve,” he added.
The Air Chief said that under his leadership, progress had been made in infrastructural development and accommodation of personnel in all formations and units across the country.
According to him, the infrastructural developments in 115 Special Operations Group are aimed at aiding airmen and airwomen at the base to carry out their duties effectively.