The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has revealed the identity of the ex-classmate of the late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who hit her with a car he was driving, as Nehemiah Adejoh.
Tolulope, 25, died of head injuries following an accident at the NAF base in Kaduna in which the car driven by Mr Nehemiah Adejoh, a former Air Force Secondary School classmate, inadvertently hit by her while reversing in an attempt to greet her.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Ibikunle Daramola, made this known at a briefing in Abuja.
Daramola gave the name of Arotile’s ex-classmate who drove the vehicle that hit Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot as “Mr. Nehemiah Adejoh”.
The NAF spokesperson also said the matter would be handed over to the Nigeria Police Force being a civil case.
He said the details of the 24-year-old pilot have been communicated to her family who is still mourning their daughter and sister.
Driver, Not on Alcohol, But Had no License
Giving a report of a preliminary investigation carried out, the NAF spokesperson said the late Arotile met three of her former schoolmates at the Air Force Secondary School now Air Force Comprehensive School) Kaduna on the day of the unfortunate incident.
“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 recognizing 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.”
Daramola said Arotile was rushed to NAF hospital in the base but was confirmed dead at 04:45 pm.
He explained that the three ex-classmates were immediately detained and subjected to alcohol test but no such substance was found in their systems.
It was however discovered that the driver of the vehicle, Mr. Nehemiah Adejo, did not have a valid driver’s license.
“Being a civil case, the matter will be handed over to the Nigeria Police with a view to further investigating and charging the suspects to court in accordance with extant laws,” he added.
‘She Was A Gift From God’ – Father
Amidst tears, Mr. Arotile, father of late Tolulope, described his late daughter as a gift from God. He said his daughter was blessed with a high intelligent quotient and that informed her decision to become a pilot.
He narrated that he spoke with her in the morning before she died, and was shocked to hear about Tolulope’s demise later in the evening.
“She is like a child that is gifted from God. God gave her a very high IQ. And on her own, she worked too hard to improve on that IQ,” the father narrated. “She is a very special child; a special creation from God.”
Mr Arotile explained that her daughter was a prayerful person and never toyed with her spiritual life.
“She does only three things: at work, sleeping or praying,” Mr Arotile said, adding that in spite of her death, he is consoled that “she is with God.”
Her Death: Accident or Setup?
Damilola Adegboye, the immediate elder sister of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, has demanded a thorough investigation.
Adeboyega, in an interview with PUNCH, said the family is not convinced with NAF’s explanation.
She was a star…
Nigerians on the social media described the late NAF officer as a monumental loss to the Nigeria.
Arotile would be buried Thursday, July 23, at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja, with full military honours.