Afenifere has called for a coroner inquest into the death of Tolulope Arotile, the Nigerian Airforce’s first female combat helicopter pilot.
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, on Thursday, July 16, expressed shock over the death of Arotile, which occured on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road accident at NAF Base Kaduna.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere said it was not satisfied with the explanation given for the cause of her death.
The statement reads: “Nigeria the demented chicken sucked one of its finest eggs yet again with the killing of flying officer Tolulope Arotile on the road in Kaduna on Tuesday.
“A statement by the Nigerian Air Force told some truth that she died but spewed some untruth in saying that: ‘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.’
“It was only eyewitness accounts that unofficially released that it was a colleague of hers who reversed his car to knock her down on the road.
“The statement added that, ‘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 hails 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.’
“Unofficial accounts say she just returned from a combat operation before she was knocked down to death.
“We, therefore, do not accept that her death was an accident until the report of a coroner says how she died and how a supposed attempt to stop and greet could come with a deadly impact.
“We say this against what is known of the infiltration of the forces by sympathizers and agents of Boko Haram.
“We recall the report years back of such agents revealing the routes and timing of movements of our troops to Boko Haram who ambushed them.
“The inquiry should look into all the links of the colleague who killed her and we must know the identity.
“Meanwhile, we sympathize with the grieving family of Tolulope who has been thrown into deep mourning following the killing of their ft daughter not in combat but within the barrack.
“May her soul rest in peace.”