I spoke with Arotile at 1pm, 4 hours later she was in mortuary – Father of late female pilot

Akintunde Arotile father of the late Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot Tolulope Arotile said he spoke with his daughter hours before her death on Tuesday.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja on Wednesday, Mr Arotile said he was shocked when he received the news.

He said: “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 4 hours ago and by 5 p.m. she was in the mortuary.”

Arotile who retired from the Transmission Company of Nigeria in 2019 said he drove from Abuja to Lokoja to break the sad news to her mother.

The late pilot died at age 25. She was a native of Kogi State.

Arotile was by the road side at Kawo area of Kaduna when a former secondary school classmate sighted her and applied the brake.

The ex-schoolmate, a female, was reversing her vehicle to enable her properly greet Arotile when she mistakenly knocked her down.

The late Arotile died from the head injury she sustained from the accident.

Her father said he was impressed by the outpouring of messages and support from the Nigeria Air Force and other Nigerians since the incident happened.

“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,” he said.