The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) has immortalised late first combat helicopter pilot, flying officer Tolulope Arotile, same day the Chief CAS Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar commissioned infrastructural projects in Portharcourt.
This latest development was contained in a statement released on the Official Facebook handle of Nigerian Air Force by Air commodore Ibikunle Daramola the Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force.
The statement read, “In fulfillment 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 remodeled 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), stated that immortalising 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 immortalising 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 immortalisation 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 lived on in the hearts of those coming after her.
He encouraged more young girls to aspire for career opportunities in the NAF.