Nigeria’s former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has paid glowing tribute to the country’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile who died on July 14, 2020 following an accident and was buried today.
Taking to his Facebook page, Jonathan who is currently leading peace efforts in troubled Mali on behalf of ECOWAS, expressed sorrow over the death of the late young pilot and prayed for the repose of her soul.
Jonathan however expressed satisfaction that Arotile lived and died a brave soldier and patriot, adding that he was happy to have introduced, for the first time, in 2011, females into the Nigeria Defence Academy to train as combatants.
He wrote- “My heart goes out to the family and colleagues of late flying officer, Tolulope Arotile. She was a brave patriot who pushed herself beyond limits to demonstrate her uncommon love for our dear nation. In the process, she made us all proud.
“In 2011 when my administration introduced females into the Nigeria Defence Academy to train as combatants, for the first time, it was to give equal opportunities to all men and women of the armed forces and encourage highly driven female officers like Tolulope to excel in her chosen career, irrespective of their gender.
“I feel sad that such a young gallant officer would die at the prime of her life. I am however encouraged by the fact that she stood out as a pleasing fulfillment of our dream of an all-embracing Nigeria armed forces devoid of discrimination.
“By dedicating her young life to protect and defend Nigeria’s strength, honour and unity, her memory and legacy will continue to serve as a great inspiration to our youth especially our girls.
“May God grant her soul eternal rest,” Jonathan wrote, signing off as ‘GEJ.’