The Nigeria Air Force (NAF), on Sunday, said it is handing over Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile’s case and the three suspects involved in her death to the Nigeria police for further investigation and prosecution.
On 14 July, the entire nation was thrown into mourning as a result of the death of Arotile, the NAF’s first female combat helicopter pilot. The Force said she died from head injuries sustained from a traffic accident.
Ibikunle Daramola, Director of public Relations and Information (DOPRI) , while briefing journalists on Sunday on the preliminary investigation report on the death of the flying officer, said Arotile’s death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head and significant bleeding resulting from the car crash caused by her secondary school mates.
Daramola, said the trio of Messrs Nehemiah Adejoh, Igbekele Folorunsho and Festus Gbayegun, involved in the auto crash are being detained at the Air Provost Wing, 453 Base Services Group, Kaduna and will soon be charged to court.
He informed that the suspects have been subjected to Toxicology Tests at the 461 NAF Hospital but no traces of alcohol or psychotropic substances were found in their systems.
“It was however discovered that the driver of the vehicle, Nehemiah Adejo, did not have a valid driver’s license”, he said.
Daramola revealed that the preliminary investigation concluded 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.
Daramola, while responding to allegations of ‘foul play’ in the late officer’s death, said Arotile was a pride of the NAF in whom the Service had invested massively in terms of resources, time and energy. He described as ludicrous for anyone to insinuate malevolent intent on the part of the Service against one of its “most prized assets.”
“Furthermore, it is extremely sad and disheartening that, rather than allow the Arotile Family and the Nigerian Air Force to grieve for our dearly departed Tolulope in peace, many have chosen to politicize her death, while others are using the incident to push meritless, misguided ethnic and religious agendas.
“The Nigerian Air Force wishes to implore everyone to respect the sensibilities of all those who have suffered most by this loss, those who really knew Tolulope – her family, her friends and her Nigerian Air Force colleagues. It is of absolute importance that the memory of this Fallen Hero and our precious child is not tainted by the propagation of misplaced sentiments and wild shenanigans, he added.