In the wake of the demise of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, there have been speculations regarding the somewhat mysterious circumstances leading to her death.
Before now, many Nigerians had engaged in wild speculations, as they tried to understand the ‘rumours’ making the rounds that Arotile’s death may not have been an accident. However, at a press briefing held in Abuja, today, July 19, 2020, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Ibikunle Daramola shed some light on the mystery.
Daramola gave the name of Arotile’s ex-classmate who drove the vehicle that hit Arotile as “Mr Nehemiah Adejoh”. He further said that the matter would be handed over to the Nigeria Police Force, since the parties involved in the accident are civilians.
In 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.
Daramola went on to say that, “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” (cf Punchng.com).
Further details of the investigations make the entire scenario all the more troubling: “Upon recognising 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” (cf Punchng.com).
If there were speculations before, the findings of this initial investigation now have the potency of taking such speculations to full-blown conspiracy theories and counter theories.
It is strange that a schoolmate of Arotile’s would reverse his car straight into her, then proceed to run the car over ‘parts of her body.’ No perspective of consideration makes sense within the circumstances. Even though it was revealed that the driver of the ‘murder-weapon’, had no driver’s license, it would seem that only a licensed driver could have driven the vehicle with such murderous precision.
These folks were not on the highway, neither were they under the influence of alcohol. Why did they reverse at such breakneck speed, in order to catch up with someone on foot? How do we explain this costly accident? How does one prove that ‘mere excitement’ at seeing an old friend can lead to murder?
In the light of these, one is won’t to ask, ‘Is there more to Arotile’s death?’ We hope that the findings of the Nigerian Police would make sense of it all. Otherwise, another promising Nigerian would have died in vain.
May God grant Tolulope Arotile eternal rest, and may her family find the fortitude to bear this great loss. Amen.
Please continue to pray for our country Nigeria.
© Oselumhense Anetor, July 2020.
Image Credit @ Punchng.com