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Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile

Arotile: Family, Afenifere reject crash report, demand probe

The family of Tolulope Arotile, the late first Nigerian female combat pilot, and the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Thursday rejected the accident theory of the Nigerian Air Force as the cause of the death, calling for a probe.

The late combat pilot died on Tuesday at the age of 24 after a car that was reversing hit her. Her mother described her as a special child who liked to fast and pray.


Tolulope’s elder sister, Damilola Adegboye, told journalists on Thursday that the family was devastated by her untimely death and had been wondering how a car that was reversing could kill her.

“We are not convinced that Tolu can die like that in a freak accident. I know that the military is well trained in the art of investigation; we want them to carry out a thorough investigation that can convince us beyond all doubts that the incident that led to her death was the truth,” she added.

She said the day the late combat pilot died, she was in the room where she was sleeping.

Adegboye said, “A call came into her mobile phone; from the way she spoke, I knew that the caller must be a senior officer telling her to come to the air force base. She was reluctant and I offered to drop her off.

“One hour later, I saw it online that something serious had happened to her. I couldn’t believe that somebody I just dropped off is dead.”


Also,  Afenifere on Thursday demanded a coroner inquest into Tolulope’s death.

The National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Yinka Odumakin, in a statement titled, ‘Afenifere wants coroner inquest into Tolulope Arotile’s death,’ said, with the death of the flying officer, “Nigeria the demented chicken sucked one of its finest eggs yet again.”

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He said, “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.

“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 death impact.

“We say this against what is known of the infiltration of the forces by sympathisers 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.”