Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile is dead, eight months after she was commissioned as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.
This was contained in a statement signed by Air Force spokesman, Ibikunle Daramola, and obtained by Channels Television on Wednesday.
She was just 23.
“It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died today, 14 July 2020, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna,” the statement read.
“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. 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.
“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the family of late Flying Officer Arotile over this irreparable loss. We pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest.”
In October 2019, Channels Television had reported how Arotile was commissioned along with 12 others, including Kafayat Sanni, the country’s first female fighter pilot.
The Nigerian Air Force has launched a fresh offensive against bandits in Sokoto State, Northwest Nigeria.
This resulted to the death of several bandits and the destruction of some of their camps by the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the spokesman of the Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the operation was carried out on July 6.
According to him, the military exercise aimed at ridden the region of armed bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, and other criminal elements is in collaboration with the Defence Headquarters (DHQ)-led Operation Accord.
Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has reiterated his commitment in fighting criminal elements in the north western states.
Abubakar who has been in Sokoto to oversee the planning and launch of the Operation, expressed satisfaction with what has been achieved so far.
He noted that while sustaining the air offensive, the Air Component was working closely with ground troops to ensure that the armed bandits that escape the aerial bombardments are mopped up on the ground.
The Air chief disclosed that because the Kagara Forest extends to Niger Republic, there was also ongoing liaison with the Nigerien Authorities to ensure that the bandits do not escape through the international borders.
While calling for the support of all Nigerians, he assured the people of the military’s determination in creating a stable and secured environment.
“Security and development are two sides of the same coin and I am very happy with what the State Government is doing in order to enhance development of communities so that people can see that they have a stake in the system.
“With what we are doing and what State Governments are doing, the problem of armed banditry will soon fizzle out,” he said.
The Nigerian Air Force says it has killed several Boko Haram members in separate airstrikes conducted at Parisu and Bula Bello in the Sambisa Forest Area of Borno State.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, revealed this via a statement issued on Monday.
He noted that action, which was carried out on “July 3 is part of the ongoing subsidiary Operation Long Reach II after intelligence reports indicated a resurgence of terrorists’ activities in the 2 settlements.”
“Consequently, the Air Task Force dispatched its fighter jets to attack the 2 locations. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jets, while taking turns to engage the targets, scored accurate bomb and rocket strikes, resulting in the destruction of some of the structures as well as the killing of several terrorists,” the statement partly read.
Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has commended the Air Task Force for their dedication, dexterity, and professionalism.
Similarly, the Defence Headquarters asked them to “intensify the air offensive against the terrorists and all other criminal elements threatening the peace and security of our beloved country.”
The Nigerian Air Force has destroyed scores of Boko Haram terrorists in Tongule and Bukar Meram areas of Borno State.
This was confirmed in a statement issued on Saturday by the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche.
He noted that the airstrikes were carried out on June 25 after a series of surveillance missions indicated a resurgence of terrorists’ activities at the two settlements.
The latest military action is “another set of successful air interdiction missions executed by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole under the subsidiary Operation Long Reach,” Enenche said.
Stressing further, the defence spokesman explained: “At Tongule, where recent credible intelligence indicated frequent convergence of BHTs, about 35 terrorists were spotted by the NAF surveillance aircraft in different parts of the settlement as it vectored the fighter jets to attack the target area.
“The munitions from the jets hit designated areas within the settlement, destroying some structures and taking out many of the terrorists.
“Similarly, at Bukar Meram, a BHT logistics hub on the fringes of the Lake Chad, the airstrikes, which were carefully timed and executed in multiple waves for maximum effects, resulted in the obliteration of designated portions of the terrorists’ facilities.
“Several of their fighters were also killed in the process.”
Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has commended the Air Task Force for their dedication and professionalism.
This comes as the Defence Headquarters equally asked them to “intensify the air offensive against the terrorists and all other criminal elements threatening the peace and security of our beloved country.”
The military on Saturday said its airforce has neutralised several Boko Haram terrorists and immobilised one of their gun trucks at Bula Korege, a terrorists’ logistics distribution centre and meeting point, on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
According to a statement signed by military spokesman John Enenche, the operation was conducted via airstrikes by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole on Wednesday.
The airstrikes were part of missions being conducted under the subsidiary Operation LONG REACH after a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft spotted a large number of Boko Haram fighters and a gun truck within the settlement, the military said.
“Consequently, the Air Task Force scrambled its fighter jets to attack the location,” the statement added.
“Upon arrival overhead the settlement, the NAF jets engaged the target area, taking out some structures and neutralizing some of the terrorists.
“The gun truck, while retreating from the location due to the strong firepower from the air, began engaging the attack aircraft with its anti-aircraft gun.
“However, the jets, after conducting evasive maneuvers, tracked the vehicle and subsequently immobilized it a few kilometres outside the village.
“The occupants of the truck, who attempted to flee, were mopped-up in follow-on attacks by the fighter jets.”
Nigeria has battled Boko Haram terrorists for more than a decade, especially in the northeast region.
Read the military’s full statement:
OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE: AIR TASK FORCE NEUTRALIZES SEVERAL BOKO HARAM TERRORISTS, IMMOBILIZES GUN TRUCK AT BULA KOREGE IN BORNO STATE
1. The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has neutralized several Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) and immobilized one of their gun trucks at Bula Korege, a terrorists’ logistics distribution centre and meeting point, on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State. This feat was achieved via air strikes executed on 17 June 2020 as part of missions being conducted under the subsidiary Operation LONG REACH after a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft spotted a large number of BHT fighters and a gun truck within the settlement. Consequently, the Air Task Force scrambled its fighter jets to attack the location.
2. Upon arrival overhead the settlement, the NAF jets engaged the target area, taking out some structures and neutralizing some of the terrorists. The gun truck, while retreating from the location due to the strong firepower from the air, began engaging the attack aircraft with its anti-aircraft gun. However, the jets, after conducting evasive maneuvers, tracked the vehicle and subsequently immobilized it a few kilometres outside the village. The occupants of the truck, who attempted to flee, were mopped-up in follow-on attacks by the fighter jets.
3. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, commends the ATF for their dedication and professionalism. The Defence Headquarters equally urge them to intensify the air offensive against the terrorists and all other criminal elements in the country.
4. You are please requested to disseminate this information, along with the attached declassified short video clip of the operation, through your medium for the awareness of the general public. Thank you for your usual support and cooperation.
JOHN ENENCHE Major General Coordinator Defence Media Operations Defence Headquarters 20 June 2020
A middle-aged man named Olusegun Abe has been arrested in Akure, the Ondo State capital for allegedly parading himself as a Nigeria Air Force Flight Commander to extort unsuspecting members of the public.
The arrest was made by the officers of the Air Force 209 Quick Response Group, Ipetu-Ijesa, Osun State.
Speaking on the arrest, the Acting Commander of NAF 209 Quick Response Group, Flight Lieutenant Morphy Owoche disclosed that the suspect was wearing the Nigerian military woodland camouflage uniform.
The suspect was accused of wearing the uniform of the rank of a Wing Commander instead of Flight Lieutenant.
Owoche explained that Abe was about defrauding the sister of late Air Force Officer, Flight Lieutenant Ohai Idonije, by asking her to hand over originals of some sensitive documents of her late brother, which the suspect intended to use in claiming the benefits of the late NAF officer.
Luck, however, ran out of the fake NAF Officer as the sister of the late Officer reached out to the Acting Commander of NAF 209 Quick Response Group, Ipetu Ijesha, Osun State, and the suspect was apprehended.
Owoche maintained that the Force will not condone any act that could tarnish its image.
He, therefore, asked members of the public and the families of the deceased to continually direct all enquires on payment of death benefits to the Nigerian Military Pension Board Headquarters in Abuja.
The suspect was handed over to the officers of the Ondo State Police Command for further investigation and prosecution.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Ondo State Police Command, ASP Tee-Leo Ikoro commended the Nigeria Air Force for arresting the culprit.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Friday said it has concluded its investigation into the action of six officials, in connection with the killing of former Air Chief Marshal, Alex Badeh.
Badeh, who was a former Chief of Defence Staff, was shot in December 2018 while returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi road.
In a statement by Air Force spokesman on Friday, Ibikunle Daramola, six Badeh aides were found guilty of various offences including absconding in the line of duty, giving false statements and illegal disposal of air force ammunition.
The judgement was delivered by the President of the General Court Martial, Air Commodore David Aluku but is subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority, the statement said.
Read the full statement below:
TRIAL OF LATE AIR CHIEF MARSHAL ALEX BADEH’S AIDES: GENERAL COURT MARTIAL CONCLUDES SITTING, DELIVERS JUDGEMENT
1. Six Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel, who were aides to the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Late Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, were today, 29 May 2020, awarded various sentences by the General Court Martial (GCM) sitting at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja. The 6 NAF personnel, who were standing trial for various offences, are; Squadron Leader Tom Gwani, Flight Sergeant Amu David, Flight Sergeant Philemon Degema, Flight Sergeant Sabo Simon, Sergeant Mukhtar Abdullahi and Sergeant Alfred Alexander. Four of the personnel were detailed to provide armed escort for Late Air Chief Marshal Badeh, while 2 others were detailed for guard duty at his house on 18 December 2018 when the former CDS was ambushed and killed by some gunmen on his way back from his farm along Gitata-Keffi Highway in Nasarawa State.
2. Delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the 6 accused personnel guilty of various charges including Failure to Perform Military Duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS while it came under attack, as well as Conduct to the Prejudice of Service Discipline, for giving false statements. The charges against the accused also included other Civil Offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Miscellaneous Offences Relating to Property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others. On the count of Aiding and Abetting, 2 of the personnel were found not guilty, while the other 4 personnel who were detailed to provide armed escort were handed various sentences.
3. While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels 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.
4. You are please requested to disseminate this information through your medium to the general public. Thank you for your usual support and cooperation.
IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA Air Commodore Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force 29 May 2020
The Nigerian Air Force says it is deploying more personnel to the Air Task Force in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to boost the counter-insurgency operations.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this on Wednesday, during an operational visit to the state.
According to him, the visit was to review and adopt new strategic formats for the conduct of operations and to appraise the efforts and achievements so far.
The Air Chief said the Air Taskforce had flown 1,669 hours during which 33 targets were hit including the logistic base of the insurgents.
According to him, the outstanding performance of the Air Task Force has “substantially created a very conducive environment for the other forces to operate”.
“We have made it extremely difficult for Boko Haram to have freedom of movement with the use of our airplanes and the fact that we have destroyed a lot of their locations. That has made it much easier I believe, for the other forces to conduct their operations,” he added.
The Air Marshall also urged personnel to follow guidelines drawn out by the authority to stay safe and carry out their constitutional duties especially at this critical time.
“COVID-19 is an invisible enemy, we are doing everything we can in line with the guidelines given by the Federal Government to remain safe. Not only us but our pilots, engineers, technicians, and we are accessing our environment, the environment they operate to make sure that they are safe,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Air Force boss also commissioned accommodation for officers and airmen, offices and resting areas aimed towards ensuring a smooth running of the Air Task Force Command and the 105 composite groups.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has reassured all Nigerians that the Air Force remains fully committed to the successful execution of its constitutional roles and will continue to meet its statutory responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of the nation.
He gave the assurance while speaking in Abuja at the winging ceremony of NAF pilots on Tuesday.
He also explained that the quest for the Nigerian Air Force to fulfil the constitutional mandate of protecting the country’s airspace and ensuring peace and security of the nation has remained the motivating factor driving it to continuously seek ways to regularly improve the operational capacity of the service through training and retraining.
Abubakar added that the current national security situation requires that the force remains highly committed and focused.
The Air Force boss, therefore, urged the newly winged pilots to be willing, able and ready whenever they are called upon in the defence of Nigeria’s sovereignty and interests.
The Nigerian Air Force says its Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has killed several Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists at Kolloram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State.
The Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche who confirmed the attack said the operation was conducted based on credible intelligence reports, indicating that some of the ISWAP leaders and fighters had converged in the settlement for a meeting.
He noted that the Air Force fighter jets and surveillance aircraft were scrambled to attack the location.
According to Enenche, the terrorists were seen moving towards the edges of the settlement and were engaged, leading to the neutralisation of several of them.
The Defence spokesman explained that the few survivors were taken out in subsequent passes as the jets strafed the area.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has conducted training for some of its flight nurses and aircrew to build their capacity for airlifting wounded soldiers from battlefields.
This according to the NAF is for the effective and efficient conduct of aeromedical evacuation missions to airlift wounded soldiers from various theatres of operation to appropriate treatment facilities.
The NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola who made the announcement in a statement on Thursday said that the training is aimed at enhancing the knowledge of the aircrew.
He noted that this will enable them to ensure that wounded personnel are stabilized and provided necessary life support from point of enplaning until they arrive at the destination facility.
He added that the NAF C-130H aircraft has been configured to carry specialized stretchers for the patients along with necessary life support equipment, including patient monitors and ventilators.
The week-long training which ended on Thursday, April 23, was held at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja using the C-130H aircraft.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar who was also on ground expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the training and simulation exercise.
According to him, it aptly depicted what was expected of flight nurses and other crew members while conducting aeromedical evacuation of wounded soldiers from the battlefield to the locations of designated medical facilities.
He noted that the capability, which would reduce the risk to wounded personnel and enhance their chances of survival, could also be deployed for the emergency movement of COVID-19 patients if so required.
The CAS disclosed that the NAF had, over the past four and half years, made concerted efforts to build the capacity of its Medical personnel to not only ensure the provision of qualitative healthcare services to personnel and their families but also to ensure effective care for personnel wounded in action.
To this end, NAF trauma/emergency care teams had been set up in all theatres of operation. He noted that this has helped to boost morale and fighting spirit of the personnel.
Air Marshal Abubakar, therefore, commended the Air Officer Commanding Mobility Command as well as the Chief of Medical Services and the Commander of the 301 Heavy Airlift Group for their efforts in ensuring the effective conduct of the training as well as the configuration of the C-130H.