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Damilola Adegboye, the sister of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, who died on Tuesday, has demanded an investigation into her death.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported the death of Ms Arotile, who died as a result of head injuries sustained from a road accident at a naval base in Kaduna.

She was reportedly killed in a “freak accident” when a driver was reversing, naval authorities claimed.

Last year, the NAF winged Ms Arotile as the first female helicopter combat pilot.

She had then successfully completed her pilot training courses at the Starlite International Training Academy, South Africa.

Aggrieved sister

In an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday, Ms Adegboye said the family is devastated by the untimely death. She, however, called for an investigation into the death.

Mrs Adegboye reportedly said, “We in the family are not convinced that Tolu can just die like that in a freak accident. I know that the military is well trained in the art of investigation, we want them to carry out a thorough investigation that can convince us beyond all doubts that the incident that led to her death was real.”

She said on the day of the incident, she and the deceased were in the room and she (Tolu) was sleeping

“A call came into her phone which she picked but from the way they spoke, I knew the caller must be a senior officer calling her to come to Airforce base. She felt reluctant and I offered to drop her off.

“One hour later, I read online that something serious had happened to her. I couldn’t believe that somebody I just dropped off is dead,” she added.

In the said vein, the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has called for a probe.

The tribal leader, in a statement on Thursday, by his spokesperson, Kehinde Aderemi, described the death “as a personal loss, especially, to the Yorubas.”

He also urged the international community to compel the authorities to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.

“Nigeria has lost one of its best brains in the military in such a suspicious circumstance,” Mr Adams said. “The late Tolulope Arotile’s short span in life was remarkable with a track record of being the first female combat helicopter pilot. The best we can do as a nation is to get to the root of the circumstances culminating in her death.”

“As far as I am concerned, reports of her death still remained suspicious to me because her death has raised many questions,” he added.

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He said the way the 24-year-old reportedly died raised more questions than answers.

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“How would such a promising, young girl be killed by a reversing car within the premises of the barrack? Who drove the car? What was his or her name? Where was the suspected killer at the moment? And what is the present situation? We will like to know, and that is why I am charging the international community to investigate and look into the circumstances surrounding her death,” Mr Adams said.

Mr Adams added that the death “of such a promising, young girl has exposed the nation as a country that never values the lives of its citizens, especially, the best and exceptional citizens.”

“Tolu’s father said he spoke with his daughter by 1 p.m. and by 5 p.m., a few hours later she was reportedly killed by a reversing car and was in the mortuary,” he said. “That story needs to be investigated because her case is one out of the many deaths of great Nigerians that made positive impacts toward making Nigeria great.”


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