Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has handed the killers of late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile to the police.
This comes after it released a report on the preliminary investigation on the death of the flying officer.
Arotile, NAF’s first female combat helicopter pilot died on Thursday, July 14 after she was reportedly knocked down by a vehicle driven by her ex-classmates inside the NAF base in Kaduna.
Addressing journalists on Sunday, July 19 at the NAF headquarters in Abuja, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, spokesman of the service, gave a detailed explanation of what transpired.
He said Arotile was returning from the Mammy Market (a name residents in military bases across Nigeria commonly call their marketplace) at about 4.30 pm when the incident occurred.
His words: ‘‘Three of her former schoolmates at the Air Force Secondary School (now Air Force Comprehensive School) Kaduna; Mr Nehemiah Adejoh, Mr Igbekele Folorunsho and Mr Festus Gbayegun, drove past her in a Kia Sorento SUV, with Registration Number AZ 478 MKA.
‘‘It is noteworthy that Messrs Adejoh, Folorunsho and Gbayegun are all civilians who live outside NAF Base Kaduna, but were on their way to visit one Mrs Chioma Ugwu, wife of Squadron Leader Chukwuemeka Ugwu, who lives at Ekagbo quarters on the base.
‘‘Upon recognising their schoolmate, Arotile, after passing her, Mr Adejoh, who was driving, reversed the vehicle, ostensibly in an attempt to quickly meet up with the deceased, who was walking in the opposite direction.
‘‘In the process, the vehicle struck Flying Officer Arotile from the rear, knocking her down with significant force and causing her to hit her head on the pavement. The vehicle then ran over parts of her body as it veered off the road beyond the kerb and onto the pavement, causing her further injuries.
‘‘Flying Officer Arotile was subsequently rushed to the 461 NAF Hospital Kaduna for treatment, while Mr Folorunsho (one of the occupants of the vehicle) who is also an Accident & Emergency Nurse at the St Gerard Catholic Hospital Kaduna, administered First Aid.
‘‘Flying Officer Arotile was confirmed dead by the on-call doctor at the 461 NAF Hospital at about 4.45 pm on 14 July 2020, as a result of the head injuries.’’
He said the men in the vehicle were immediately detained at the Air Provost Wing, 453 Base Services Group Kaduna as investigations began.
According to him, they were subjected to toxicology tests but no traces of alcohol or psychotropic substances were found in their systems.
However, he said the driver of the vehicle, Mr Nehemiah Adejo, did not have a valid driver’s license.
He stated that the death of Flying Officer Arotile was caused by blunt force trauma to the head and significant bleeding resulting from being struck by the vehicle.
He noted that being a civil case, the matter will be handed over to the Nigeria Police Force for further investigation.
Recall that the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, had described the death of Arotile as suspicious.
The respected Yoruba leader also called on the federal government to properly investigate the circumstances which led to the death of the 24-year old Kogi-born officer.