Thursday 2 May 2024

Remembering Tolulope Arotile: Will President Tinubu ever revisit her case for the sake of justice?

Born on 13 December 1995, Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile attended the Air Force Primary School, Kaduna, from 2000 to 2005 and the Air Force Secondary School, Kaduna, from 2005 to 2011, before she gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, as a member of 64 Regular Course.

She held a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy. She was winged as the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force on 15 October 2019 (together with the first female fighter pilot, Kafayat Sank) after completing her flying training in South Africa. Two years into her career, Arotile had acquired 460 hours of helicopter flight, which was an outstanding performance for a combat pilot. She saw action against the Boko Haram terrorists, and President Muhammadu Buhari paid tribute to her skill and bravery. In the fight against ISIS, she was called effective, deadly and "fearless".

However, tragedy struck with suspicious hands. According to Nigerian Air Force spokesman Ibikunle Daramola, Arotile died on 14 July 2020 as a result of head injuries sustained in a road traffic accident at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna State, when she was inadvertently hit by the vehicle of a former Air Force Secondary School classmate who was trying to greet her. The way the accident occurred prompted a call for investigation from Nigerians. Others called it "suspicious".

She was buried on 23 July 2020 at the Military Cemetery, Airport Road, Abuja.The Nigerian Air Force revealed that no autopsy was carried out on her before she was buried, because the circumstances surrounding her death were clear, and there were witnesses who were present during the accident.

However, the leading "story in the air" at the time was that she was killed because of the belief that a Mujahideen or Islamic soldier killed in a war by female, (a non Muslim female to make matter worse) can never enter Muslim paradise. This was why some powerful people conived to kill Arotile, being a female and a Christian.

We the concerned citizen of this country hereby call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to revisit this case again and bring justice.

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