At Arotile’s burial, cleric advises goverment to stop neglecting patriots :
Chief of Air Staff , Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (right ), with the Arotile family members during the burial of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile , at the National Military Cemetery , Abuja …yesterday
Olonisakin, Jonathan , others eulogise fallen female combat pilot
The authorities in Nigeria have been advised to halt the practice of neglecting young men and women who served the country with dedication . Group Captain ( Rev. ) Dogo Gani gave the charge yesterday while officiating at the funeral of the nation ’ s first female combat helicopter pilot , Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, at the National Military Cemetery , Abuja .
Urging the bereaved family, in his sermon , to be strong and take solace in the fallen heroine’ s impactful life to her relatives and the biggest economy on the African continent, the cleric regretted that successive administrations had not valued youths who patriotically served the nation .
His words : “ Successive Nigerian administrations have not placed high premium on young men and women who have been found to serve the country at the peak of patriotism, dedication and commitment . ”
“ Nigerian leadership has always used and dumped such patriots, a tradition those in authorities, should stop, ” he added . The 24-year- old Kogi indigene , who died in Kaduna on July 14 this year of head injuries sustained from a crash masterminded by her classmate at Air Force Secondary School in the same northern state, was laid to rest with full military honours.
A twenty -one gun salute was accorded the slain officer before her remains, which arrived at the graveyard at exactly 8. 38am , were eventually lowered at 11. 05am amid tears from colleagues and relations .
The military high command , led by the Chief of Defence Staff , General Gabriel Olonisakin , thereafter paid tributes. Governor Yahaya Bello and his wife , Rasheedat , Minister of Women Affairs , Pauline Tallen , as well as chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives committees on Air Force, Senator Bala Ibn Na ’ lla , and Shehu Koku , were among the dignitaries that graced the event .
In his remarks, the Chief of the Air Staff , Air Marshal Abubakar Abubakar , said the departed young officer performed her ground and air duties in her short stay with dedication and professionalism .
“ It ’ s indeed with a heavy heart and a deep sense of loss that I stand here today ( yesterday) to welcome you all to this burial ceremony , and to bear the heart of the NAF ( Nigerian Air Force ) as we lay to rest the remains of a national heroine, a daughter and a highly impactful officer , the late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.
“ I must confess that even at this moment , the NAF is still in palpable shock and grief on this loss because it is the loss of a mentee whom the NAF has so much confidence in, and our expectations have been cut short. As a combat helicopter pilot for several years, I can tell you that this young and confident first female helicopter pilot in the history of NAF dared so many odds to get to where she was before her demise , ” he eulogised .
Also , former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan described the departed as a “ brave patriot who pushed her self beyond limits to demonstrate her uncommon love for the nation . ”
In a statement he personally signed yesterday in Abuja , the Bayelsan- born administrator reminisced that his administration, in 2011, introduced the training of females at the Nigeria Defence Academy ( NDA ) for gender equality in the armed forces .
Besides, the Senate observed a minute silence in respect of the youngster, which it extolled for exemplariness.
The observance followed a motion , ‘ Demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile’ , sponsored by Senator Adeyemi Smart ( Kogi West) on the floor of the hallowed chamber . He implored the Federal Government to immortalise the dead for her “ tremendous contribution to the fight against terrorism within.