Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has described the death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile as a shocking and devastating national tragedy.

The Kogi-born FO, who died in a car accident on Tuesday in Kaduna State, hailed from the Ijumu Local Government Area of the state.

Arotile was the first female Combat Helicopter Pilot in the history of the Nigerian Air Force.

In a condolence message signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, Bello described Arotile as not only a combat pilot but a fantastic aviator who reached the sky in her professional calling at a very tender age of 23.

The statement partly read, “Late Flying Officer Arotile brought the country to a standstill on the 15th of October 2019 when she was decorated as the first female combat Helicopter Pilot. This was a huge honour to her family and state, the nation, and the entire women in the country and beyond.

“As a trained military aviator, with a blend of professionalism and patriotism, Arotile’s engagement in air-to-ground combat in rooting out armed bandits and other criminal elements in the country, particularly in the North Central region was a sacrifice that cannot be forgotten.

“We are devastated by the tragic death of this young promising lady who took bravery to the next level, demystified prejudicial stereotype and flew her parents, state and nation high in honour and professionalism.

“On behalf of the state, I commiserate with the family of late ‪Flying Officer Arotile‬ over this irreparable loss and I pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest, She will be sorely missed.”