Arotile, Nigeria’s First Female Helicopter Combat Pilot, Laid To Rest In Abuja

Channels Television  
Updated July 23, 2020


The burial of Nigeria’s first female helicopter combat pilot, Tolulope Arotile, was held on Thursday at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja.

Arotile, who died on July 14 in Kaduna, was buried in strict compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said.

She died from severe injuries following a road traffic accident at the NAF base in Kaduna, the Air Force has said.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s First Female Combat Helicopter Pilot, Arotile, Dies At 25

The driver that hit her was reportedly a former secondary school classmate who, in the process of reversing his car to give her a lift knocked down the deceased.

The late Tolulope Arotile. Photo: [email protected] Air Force.


President Muhammadu Buhari and other national leaders paid homage to the young military star after her demise and the Air Force promised she would be buried with full military honours.

Eight months before her death, she had been commissioned as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.

A Pandemic Burial

The Thursday burial was restricted to a few guests, due to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the virus.

Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria's first female combat helicopter pilot, was buried in Abuja on July 23, 2020.
Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, was buried in Abuja on July 23, 2020.


Guests included Arotile’s friends, family, and colleagues.

Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, were also sighted at the ceremony.

READ ALSO: Arotile Will Be Buried With Full Military Honours – NAF

Other top officials present at the ceremony were the Minister of Women Affairs, Paulen Tallen, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali.

Uninvited guests including unaccredited journalists were politely turned back at the entrance to the cemetery as only vehicles of senior officers and immediate family members of the deceased are allowed to drive in, Channels TV gathered.

‘Honour Arotile’

Meanwhile, the Senate on Thursday observed a minute of silence in honour of Arotile.

The Red Chamber is also asking the Airforce to erect a monument in her honour.

The Senate’s resolution was in response to a motion moved by Senator Smart Adeyemi, a Kogi state lawmaker.

Arotile was an indigene of Kogi state.

Another federal lawmaker from Kogi state, Senator Jibrin Isah, also wants the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of her death.