Air Force Officer Bags 21 Years Imprisonment Over Fraud

A General Court Martial sitting in Makurdi sentenced four officers over financial misappropriation in September 2020.
A General Court Martial sitting in Makurdi sentenced four officers over financial misappropriation in September 2020.

 

A General Court Martial sitting at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Makurdi has sentenced an Air Force officer, Michael Oyebanji, to 21 years in prison.

Oyebanji was sentenced alongside three others for misappropriation of funds of the 151 Base Services Group Multipurpose Cooperative Society funds, a statement released on Saturday by the Air Force spokesman, Ibikunle Daramola, said.

Others sentenced with Oyebanji, who is a Master Warrant Officer (MWO), include Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Sherifi Olawoore, Flying Officer (Fg Offr) Ademola Adekoya, and Warrant Officer (WO) Paul Atteh.

The personnel were sentenced based on their levels of involvement in the fraudulent operation.

READ ALSO: Air Force Immortalises Flying Officer Arotile

Delivering his judgement, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore Nazib Aliyu, pronounced the four accused personnel guilty of various charges.

Flt Lt Olawoore was tried for negligently performing his duty as the President of the Cooperative, found guilty, and awarded a six-month loss of seniority.

Fg Offr Adekoya was also tried for negligently performing his duty as Secretary of the Cooperative. He was found guilty and awarded a one-year loss of seniority.

Oyebanji, who was the Vice President of the Cooperative, was tried on a 46 count charge, including; Criminal Breach of Trust, Theft, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Misappropriation, Making of False Documents and Conduct to the Prejudice of Service Discipline, contrary to Sections 114 and 103 (d) of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Sections 312, 287, 96 and 309 of the Penal Code Cap P3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

He was found guilty on all 46 counts and subsequently sentenced to serve 21 years imprisonment, cumulatively, as well as a reduction in rank to Corporal and ordered to refund all monies misappropriated.

WO Paul Atteh, who was tried for negligently performing his duty as the Treasurer of the Cooperative as well as for the Making of False Documents and Criminal Breach of Trust, was found guilty of all 3 charges.

Atteh was punished with a reduction in rank from WO to Sergeant, in the first instance, and then eventually reduced to the rank of Corporal. He is also required to pay a fine of N1,000,000.00.

Meanwhile, the GCM has ordered the release of WO Atteh from detention, the Air Force statement said.

While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsel urged the Court to show leniency, describing the Accused Persons as first-time offenders.

The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.

However, it is within the rights of the Accused Personnel to appeal the judgment of the GCM, if they are dissatisfied.

Air Force Immortalises Flying Officer Arotile

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

 

The Nigerian Air Force has immortalised the late Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile who died on July 14 in Kaduna State.

Speaking during the newly renovated and remodelled Pilots’ Crew ‘Room’ at the 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) Port Harcourt on Tuesday, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that immortalizing the deceased was in fulfilment of the Force’s promise.

Abubakar said the move was in appreciation to Arotile for her invaluable contributions to the fight against armed banditry and other criminal activities in the country.

The Pilots Crew ‘Room’ was named after the late Flying Officer, who was also Nigeria’s first Female Combat Pilot.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Air Force spokesman, Ibikunle Daramola.

According to the statement, the CAS said immortalizing Arotile was done, not only to honour her memory but also to further inspire young girls in Nigeria to study, work hard and pursue their dreams and legitimate aspirations with pride and honour.

“It is gratifying to note that, since late Tolulope’s demise, many young Nigerian girls have indicated their interest to join the NAF.

“Besides, no fewer than 12 other female officers, who have undoubtedly been motivated by her inspirational life and the unprecedented and exemplary contributions by other female and male pilots, are currently undergoing flying training, both within and outside the Country, to become NAF pilots,” Abubakar said.

 

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE

NAF IMMORTALIZES LATE FIRST COMBAT HELICOPTER PILOT, FLYING OFFICER TOLULOPE AROTILE, AS CAS COMMISSIONS INFRASTRUCTURAL PROJECTS IN PORT HARCOURT

In fulfilment of its promise to honour the memory of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot for her invaluable contributions to the fight against armed banditry and other criminal activities in the Country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today, 22 September 2020, immortalized late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile. The newly renovated and remodelled Pilots’ Crew ‘Room’ at the 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) Port Harcourt was named after the late officer who died on 14 July 2020 at the age of 24. The Pilots’ Crew Room houses an Operations briefing room, computer room/library, pilots’ life-support room and lounge as well as a kitchen, dining room, changing room for pilots on standby and several rest rooms. The facility was provided to ensure a conducive environment which would enable pilots to more effectively plan and execute assigned missions.

Speaking during the ceremony, which also featured the commissioning of a newly constructed Block of 18 x two-bedroom flats for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs) as well as a water project, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that immortalizing late Flying Officer Arotile was done, not only to honour her memory but also to further inspire young girls in Nigeria to study, work hard and pursue their dreams and legitimate aspirations with pride and honour. “It is gratifying to note that, since late Tolulope’s demise, many young Nigerian girls have indicated their interest to join the NAF. Besides, no fewer than 12 other female officers, who have undoubtedly been motivated by her inspirational life and the unprecedented and exemplary contributions by other female and male pilots, are currently undergoing flying training, both within and outside the Country, to become NAF pilots”, the CAS said.

Air Marshal Abubakar noted that immortalizing late Flying Officer Arotile also addressed another area of the NAF’s policy thrust which is the commitment to assure personnel that their sacrifices would never be in vain. According to him, the policy has been sustained through the immortalization of personnel who paid the supreme price in service to the Nation. “The objective has always been to acknowledge their contributions towards securing our Country, while making sure that they and their sacrifices remain forever fresh in our minds and indeed in the minds of Nigerians”, he added. The CAS, who expressed excitement to see some of her colleagues who were at the commissioning to celebrate her memory, noted that late Flying Officer Arotile lives on in the hearts of those coming after her. He encouraged more young girls to aspire for career opportunities in the NAF as he said “there is no limit to what they can achieve”.

While expressing his happiness with the performance of the Commander as well as officers and men of the Unit, Air Marshal Abubakar stated that 115 SOG had continued to play a significant role in the NAF’s efforts at tackling insecurity in different parts of the Country. He noted that pilots, engineers, technicians and other support staff of the Group, deployed along with their helicopter gunships, had continued to contribute their quota towards winning the fight against insurgents in the North East as well as against bandits and other criminals in the North West and North Central. The 115 SOG, he said, had also continued to play a key role in dealing with illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the South South, working in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies.

The CAS recalled that, over the years, 115 SOG had built in-house capacity and shown its capability in the conduct of the first-ever life extension maintenance on 2 x Mi 35P helicopters. Similarly, he said, the Unit, working with technical partners, was able to reactivate 3 x EC-135 helicopters locally. While charging the aircrew and other personnel in Port Harcourt to continue working harder to deal decisively with the enemies of the Nation, the CAS urged them to utilize the new facilities and other welfare projects with a high sense of responsibility.

Air Marshal Abubakar expressed his profound gratitude to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his continued support to the NAF towards the achievement of its desired Air Power goals. He noted that the President’s overwhelming support to the Service was a testament to the fact that the whole Nation stands by the NAF in the fight against all enemies of the Country. “We therefore pledge to remain resolute in the conduct of our operations until peace is restored to every troubled part of the Country”, he said.

In his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Tactical Air Command (TAC), Air Vice Marshal Olusegun Philip, noted that the CAS had proved beyond doubt that the welfare of NAF personnel was his topmost priority, as evidenced by his commitment to the provision of infrastructure for their comfort and optimum performance. While thanking the CAS for his constant support, the AOC reassured him of the firm resolve and dedication of personnel to the fight against terrorism, banditry and illegal oil bunkering. “I promise you that we will continue to give you the desired results in all our present and future operations”, the AOC said.

Also present at the ceremony were Branch Chiefs and Directors from the NAF Headquarters as well as the General Officer Commanding 6 Division Nigerian Army and other senior military officers. One of the key feature of the event was the presence of some NAF’s female pilots, including Flight Lieutenant Blessing Liman, the first female to be winged as a pilot in the NAF, as well as Flying Officers Genevieve Nwaogwugwu, Olubunmi Ijelu, Kafayat Sanni, first fixed-wing fighter pilot in the NAF, and Chinelo Nwokoye, NAF’s second-ever combat helicopter pilot.

 

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA

Air Commodore

Director of Public Relations and Information

Nigerian Air Force

22 September 2020

Lalong Lauds Commitment Of CAS To National Security

 

The Executive Governor of Plateau State, Right Honourable Simon Bako Lalong, has commended the visionary leadership of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as well as his outstanding diligence in the discharge of duties, which he said would surely transform the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to become the best Air Force in Africa.

“We are witnesses to the great attention the CAS has paid to the welfare and training of personnel of the NAF throughout the country. He has also ensured the acquisition of air platforms and other equipment necessary for the operations of the Force”, he said.

The Governor gave this commendation today, 9 September 2020, while commissioning some infrastructure projects for NAF personnel at the 205 Combat Search and Rescue Group (205 CSARG) and the newly established Air Provost Training Centre (APTC), at NAF Base Kerang, Mangu Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State.

The commissioned projects include 2 blocks of 10 x single bedroom furnished residential accommodation for airmen instructors and students of the APTC as well as an Officers’ Mess for officers of the 2 Units.

The Governor, who was also in Kerang in 2017 during the groundbreaking ceremony/commissioning of the 205 CSARG Headquarters Building, noted that the establishment of the Special Operations Command (SOC) and subsequent siting of the Group in Kerang were glowing evidences of the resolve, commitment, and determination of the Federal Government to ensure that law-abiding citizens are secured and peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians guaranteed.

He noted that the remarkable transformation that had taken place were also hallmarks of the CAS’ dynamic leadership. While highlighting that his Administration, with the cooperation of the Plateau citizens and support of the Federal Government and security agencies, had ensured the return of peace, he noted that there was a need for vigilance against merchants of crises who are always scheming to take the State to the dark days.

He, therefore, called on the good people of Plateau State and especially the Kerang Community, who generously acceded to the approval of this expanse of land for the Unit, to continue to maintain peaceful and harmonious coexistence in the interest of national security.

Governor Lalong further observed that prior to the establishment of 205 CSARG, the Plateau State Government already had a cordial working relationship with the NAF which, he said, played a significant role in tackling insecurity, promoting education, and delivering quality healthcare services to Plateau citizens.

He added that the establishment of the Group had widened the NAF’s participation in the consolidation of peace and security of the State, particularly in the rural areas.

He stated further that, as Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, he was aware of the deployments of NAF air assets and personnel not only to Plateau State and other parts of the North but to other parts of the Country where such challenges exist.

“On behalf of my colleagues, I register our appreciation to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, and the CAS for responding to our pleas promptly”, he added.

While urging personnel of the Service to continue to foster the high standards of good civil-military relations with host communities for which the NAF is known, the Governor reassured the CAS of his Administration’s commitment towards supporting the Service at all times.

In his remarks at the occasion, Air Marshal Abubakar, while lauding Governor Lalong’s continued demonstration of strong commitment to the security of the people of Plateau State, noted that the reason for establishing the 205 CSARG was primarily to further bring security closer to the people of the State.

He noted that this was in keeping with his Vision upon assumption of office in 2015 which was “To reposition the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiatives for effective, efficient and timely employment of airpower in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives”.

He further disclosed that, after assessing the structure of the Service, at the time it was observed that it was inadequate to properly actualize the Vision.

The CAS noted that deliberate steps were therefore taken to expand the organizational structure of the Service with the creation of 2 new Field Commands, the Special Operations Command (SOC) headquartered in Bauchi and the Ground Training Command (GTC) in Enugu, as well as several specialized Units, including those at Owerri in Imo State; Gusau in Zamfara State; Lafia in Nasarawa State; Agatu in Benue State, Gembu in Taraba State and Bauchi in Bauchi State.

Others, he said, included the NAF Detachment in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State; a Forward Operating Base in Damaturu, Yobe State; Quick Response Wing in Lafia, Nasarawa State as well as the newly established 203 Combat Reconnaissance Group in Gombe, Gombe State, and the 205 CSARG Kerang. The CAS noted that the upgraded structure has positioned the Service to more effectively ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians, working in synergy with sister Services and other security agencies.

Speaking further, the CAS stated that the NAF’s ability to realize the Vision had also been boosted by the immense support of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, which had enabled the Service to procure 22 brand new aircraft in the past 5 years, which were already deployed for operations in different parts of the Country. He equally disclosed that the NAF was also expecting 17 additional aircraft to be delivered before the end of the Year 2021.

The CAS noted that in order to effectively man these aircraft the Service had winged 114 new pilots since 2015, while another 103 student pilots were undergoing various levels of training to become qualified NAF pilots.

He further noted that the Service had trained over 2,000 new engineers and technicians with another 500 expected to graduate from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) by next week.

The CAS also noted that the Service had trained over 4,000 Regiment and Special Forces personnel to ensure the protection of its bases and air assets.

Air Marshal Abubakar emphasized that the overall objective was to ensure that the Service builds a robust capacity to ensure a secured, united, and prosperous Nigeria.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) SOC, Air Vice Marshal Charles Ohwo, noted that since the establishment of 205 CSARG in 2017, the NAF had continued to build capacity to ensure that the NAF has the capability for effective, efficient and timely CSAR missions.

He disclosed that after the first few personnel were trained abroad, the training of subsequent sets of CSAR was conducted locally at Kaduna and Ipetu-Ijesha, due to the high cost of foreign training.

These personnel, who he said, were capable of tracking, searching, locating, and rescuing occupants of downed combat aircraft or personnel in distress, were currently deployed to various Theatres of Operation across the Country.

The AOC added that for the Unit to effectively undertake its roles of medical and casualty evacuation, it needs to be strengthened and equipped with platforms, equipment, and highly-trained professionals. According to him, the CAS, being mindful of this, had authorized the execution of several projects, which he said, were at various stages of completion.

These, he said, included a standard 22-bed Medical Centre, which would not only cater to NAF personnel but also members of the host community and others who may be referred to the facility.

Also present at the event were the Plateau State Deputy Governor, Professor Sonny Theoden, and other top Government functionaries of the State, Traditional Rulers form Mangu LGA as well as the Commander Operation SAFE HAVEN, Branch Chiefs from the NAF Headquarters, AOC Ground Training Command and other senior military officers.

 

 

NAF Airlifts Conjoined Twins To Bayelsa After Successful Separation

Parents of the conjoined twins that were successfully separated at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola arrive in Bayelsa on August 30, 2020.

 

The Nigerian Air Force has airlifted a set of twins after successfully undergoing a separation surgery at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola, Adamawa State.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday by NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola.

According to him, the twins – Mercy and Grace Aeiygbenmi, along with their parents and medical team have been conveyed to their base in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Reacting, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who received them thanked the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the entire Air Force for the support provided throughout the process.

On his part, Abubakar, reassured Nigerians that the Air Force will continue to sustain its humanitarian relief operations, including medical outreaches, to alleviate the sufferings of victims of insurgency, banditry and natural disasters.

The twins who were born on December 1, 2019, were joined at the abdomen, and was successfully separated by the collective efforts of medical professionals.

See Photos Below:     

Airstrikes Kill ‘Key’ ISWAP Leaders In Borno – Defence Headquarters

A NAF shows air bombardments in Lake Cad area of Borno State. Credit: Air Force

 

The airstrikes of the Nigerian Air Force have killed key leaders of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Borno State.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche.

The defence spokesman explained that the terrorists operating around the Lake Chad in the northern part of Borno were neutralised on August 24.

According to him, “prominent terrorists’ leaders, including Abu Imraana, ISWAP Naval Commander, as well as Mallam Ibrahim and Mallam Abba, are believed to be among the many ISWAP casualties.”

READ ALSO: Patient Dies In Kwara After Striking Workers Switch Off Ventilator

“The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has taken another major scalp off the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) elements operating in the Island settlements of the Lake Chad in the Northern part of Borno State.

“This occurred yesterday, 24 August 2020, in massive simultaneous air strikes executed under the subsidiary Operation HAIL STORM at Kirta Wulgo and Sabon Tumbun, 2 settlements on the fringes of the Lake, where several key ISWAP leaders and scores of their fighters were killed.

“The missions were conducted on the heels of credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports indicating that some ISWAP leaders and fighters had relocated to Sabon Tumbun due to the impact of the recent air strikes at the nearby Island settlement of Tumbuma Baba.

“Similarly, up to 15 high ranking ISWAP Commanders along with scores of their fighters were harboured at Kirta Wulgo, which serves as Administrative Headquarters and training camp for ISWAP,” the statement partly read.

NAF Commences Free Medical Services To Victims Of Southern Kaduna Attacks

Air Force personnel checks the teeth of a woman during a 3-day medical outreach in Southern Kaduna on August 23, 2020. Credit: NAF

 

The Nigerian Air Force has commenced free medical services to victims of banditry attacks in some communities in Southern Kaduna.

The victims include over 3,000 Internally Displaced Persons in Zonkwa, Zangon-Kataf Local Government Area (LGA), and Mariri in Lere LGA of the state.

In his remarks, the leader of the Medical Team, who is also the Chief of Medical Services, Air Commodore Gideon Bako, commiserated with the IDPs.

He stated that the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, was very passionate about humanitarian activities and had shown immense concern for the plight of the people affected by the recent banditry attacks in the area.

 

According to Bako, the Air Force would do everything within its power to bring succour to the people who continue with their daily businesses.

“We are going to have 6 days of medical outreach, that would be conducted in 2 phases. Three days will be done here at the Mercy IDP Camp, while the remaining 3 days will be at Mariri IDP Camp in Lere LGA,” he said.

He therefore appealed for the cooperation of the people.

Reacting, the Chairman of Zangon-Kataf LGA, Dr Elias Manza, who was represented by the Vice Chairman, Mr Tonac Yakubu, thanked the Air Force for the kind gesture and promised to partner with the service to ensure a successful outing.

 

“Despite the fact that we are bereaved, we were very excited when we heard that the NAF was organizing a medical outreach in Zonkwa. We are very delighted.

“I want to say thank you so much for seeing through our plight and coming to commiserate with us and to take care of our sick and displaced people.

“Our joy knows no bound and we pray that this heart of kindness and concern is just the beginning of what we would see the NAF doing in our midst,” he said.

The three-day free medical services in the two locations, is aimed at enhancing good civil-military relations between the Air Force and host communities.

NAF Airstrikes Kill 20 Terrorists, Destroy Logistics In Borno

A screen grab of the NAF video showing the bombardment on the terrorists’building in Borno State. Credit: NAF

 

The Nigeria Air Force says its airstrikes have killed no fewer than 20 Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in Borno State.

This was confirmed in a statement issued on Wednesday by the Coordinator Defence Media operations, Major General John Enenche.

According to him, the attack was carried out at Bukar Meram on the fringes of the Lake Chad, a settlement in the southern part of Borno State following intelligence information.

He explained that Bukar Meram, is a major ISWAP logistics hub linking other island settlements of the Lake Chad, which also houses several of their fighters and some of their key leaders.

The defence spokeman said that the attack was carried out by an enhanced force package of Nigerian Air Force  fighter jets and helicopter gunships which hit designated targets in the area.

“In continuation of air strikes being conducted under subsidiary Operation HAIL STORM, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has successfully neutralized some Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) Commanders and knocked out logistics facilities at Bukar Meram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State, while also neutralizing several terrorists at Dole, a settlement in the Southern part of Borno State.

“The air interdiction missions were executed on 17 August 2020 on the heels of credible intelligence reports indicating a resurgence of terrorists’ activities in the 2 settlements.

“The attack at Dole was carried out after Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions showed a build-up of activities in the area after the relocation of some terrorists from nearby settlements of Kokiwa and Yale.

“Overhead the area the ISR aircraft spotted no fewer than 20 terrorists in the area, which were taken out by the NAF attack aircraft,” the statement partly read.

Following the recent spate of attacks by the terrorists, the Air Force has launched serious offensive against the insurgents.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Attacks Military Base, Abducts IDPs In Borno

The recent of such was five days ago when the Air Force destroyed ISWAP camp in Borno State.

In a statement on August 14, Enenche said the terrorists’ camp, located at Tongule in the Lake Chad area of Northern Borno, was knocked out by the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole, adding that the airstrikes were conducted on Wednesday following credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports indicating terrorists’ activities in the village.

He revealed that the operation, which was in continuation of the air offensive against terrorist elements in the North East, resulted in the death of scores of the ISWAP fighters at the camp.

Air Force Deploys Special Forces To Troubled Communities In Southern Kaduna

NAF special forces deployed to fight bandits in Southern Kaduna on August 16, 2020.

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed additional special forces to southern Kaduna, to boost the ongoing fight against bandits and suspected ethnic militia who have been terrorising residents of the area.

The Air Officer Commanding, NAF Training Command, Air Marshal Musa Mukhtar, addressed the troops before their departure to the southern part of the state on Sunday.

He asked them to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Army troops attached to Operation Safe Haven, by providing both ground and air power during the operation against the criminal elements.

Mukhtar, however, warned the troops to respect the human rights of the people of Southern Kaduna during the operation.

He asked the team of security operatives, numbering 32 and trained in all aspects of counter-insurgency operations, to crush the bandits.

The deployment of additional troops comes as the military steps up operation to combat the rising cases of attacks by bandits and suspected ethnic militia in the area.

 

Many people have been killed with others injured, while hundreds of families have been displaced as a result of the conflict which has been lingering for many years.

In the past month, army troops, police officials, and other security agencies have been deployed to the troubled areas, even as the attacks seem unabated.

Before the departure of the additional batch of special forces, they were supported with versatile military hardware to aid the onslaught against the enemies.

NAF special forces prepare for their deployment to fight bandits in Southern Kaduna on August 16, 2020.

 

In his reaction, the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, commended NAF for the deployment of the security operatives to the troubled part of the state.

In a statement on Sunday by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, the governor said he received the news of the deployment with joy and appreciation.

According to the statement, the deployment of the special forces to southern Kaduna is a demonstration of the collective will of President Muhammadu Buhari, El-Rufai, the Defence Headquarters, and NAF to tackle the security challenges in the state.

“We are looking forward to meeting the officers and men of the NAF special forces shortly after their induction,” it said.

Police Arraign Two Brothers Over Arotile’s Death

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

 

The Police in Kaduna State have arraigned two brothers, Nehemiah and David Adejo before a Chief Magistrate court sitting in the state capital,  in connection with the death of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile.

The first accused person, Nehemiah was arraigned on a two-count charge of culpable homicide under Section 190 of Kaduna State Penal Code and causing death by dangerous driving under Section 21  of Kaduna State Traffic Law, while David was charged with negligent conduct while causing danger to person and property.

They both pleaded not guilty.

At the hearing of the case before the Chief Magistrate Court on Wednesday, the prosecuting counsel, Martins Leo,  told the court to remand Nehemiah in prison custody because of a pending investigation on culpable homicide against him.

However,  counsel to the defendants,  Ibrahim Omachi, argued that his clients were first-time offenders and had already spent more than four weeks in detention.

After listening to the arguments from both sides, the presiding Magistrate,  Benjamin Hassan, granted the two accused person bail in the sum of N1million with two sureties.

The two sureties must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and possess bank verification number (BVN).

The case was adjourned till August 24 and 25 for hearing.

The late Arotile died on July 14, 2020, following a head injury she sustained she was knocked down by a car allegedly driven by Nehemiah, her old secondary school classmate, at the Nigerian Airforce Secondary school in Kaduna State.

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

 

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.

Air Force Says Arotile’s Death Caused By Brute Force

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

 

The Nigerian Air Force says that the death of flying officer, Tolu Arotile, was caused by what it describes as brute force and severe injuries following a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna on Tuesday.

In a news conference on Sunday, the spokesperson, Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the military is ruling out any possibility of foul play in the death of the young flying officer.

[Read Also] Arotile: Killer Driver Had No Valid Licence – Military Sources

Commodore Daramola also confirmed that the driver of the vehicle that knocked down the late officer, Mr Nehemiah Adejo and the two other occupants of the car will be handed over to the police for prosecution since it is a civil case.

Meanwhile, a military source had earlier told Channels Television that the driver who knocked down Arotile is a civilian who had no valid driving credentials.

According to the source, the driver was also her secondary school classmate.

The family of the late officer and some prominent Nigerians have called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to her death.

 

 

Read Also: ‘She Was One Of Our Shining Young Stars’: Chief Of Air Staff Mourns Arotile

Arotile is Nigeria’s first female helicopter combat pilot.

“Until her death, ‪Flying Officer Arotile, who was commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 64, was the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Service,” the Air Force spokesman, said in an earlier statement.

“During her short but impactful stay in the Service, late Arotile, who hailed from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, contributed significantly to the efforts to rid the North Central States of armed bandits and other criminal elements by flying several combat missions under Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State.”

‘She Was A Gift From God’: Father Of Late Combat Pilot Tolulope Grieves Over Daughter

 

 

 

Akintunde Arotile, father of Tolulope, the late first female combat helicopter pilot of the Nigerian Air Force has described her as a gift from God. 

Mr Arotile spoke on Wednesday in Lokoja following his daughter’s death at the NAF Base in Kaduna State on Tuesday.

According to him, his daughter was blessed with a high intelligent quotient and that informed her decision to become a pilot.

READ ALSO: ‘She Was One Of Our Shining Young Stars’: Chief Of Air Staff Mourns Arotile

He narrated that he spoke with her in the morning before she died,  and was shocked to hear about Tolulope’s demise later in the evening.

“She is like a child that is gifted from God. God gave her a very high IQ. And on her own, she worked too hard to improve on that IQ,” the father narrated. “She is a very special child; a special creation from God.”

Mr Arotile explained that her daughter was a prayerful person and never toyed with her spiritual life.

 

 

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

 

“She does only three things: at work, sleeping or praying,” Mr Arotile said, adding that in spite of her death, he is consoled that “she is with God.”

Also speaking, the mother of the late pilot recalled how she gave birth to Tolulope, restating that her she was a prayerful lady.

She said her daughter made prayer and fasting her hobby and took it upon herself to intercede for others including her colleagues.

Tolulope died eight months after she was commissioned as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot at the age of 25.

The Chief of Air Staff,  Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had in his condolence message, said he is heartbroken over the incident, saying she “was one of our young shining stars.”

 

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

 

Arotile who hailed from Kogi State died following head injuries sustained from an accident she had at the NAF Base in Kaduna with President Muhammadu Buhari describing her life as short but impact-filled.

“President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed, and comfort the family she left behind,” he said.