NAF Says Combat Pilot Arotile Was Buried Without Autopsy

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NAF says Arotile’s family did not request an autopsy because the cause of death was very clear.
NAF says Arotile’s death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head, and significant bleeding [NAF]
NAF says Arotile’s death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head, and significant bleeding [NAF]
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile was buried without an official autopsy because it was unnecessary.
Arotile was winged as NAF’s first ever female combat helicopter pilot on October 15, 2019, after completing her flying training in South Africa.
However, she died from head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base, Kaduna on July 14, 2020.
According to the official account, three of her former classmates, all civilians, spotted her walking on the base and accidentally knocked her down while trying to get her attention.
NAF ruled that her death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head, and significant bleeding resulting from being struck by the vehicle.
The true nature of her death has been debated in public with some suggesting NAF’s official account is not convincing.
Arotile was buried at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja on Thursday, July 23, 2020 [NAF]
Arotile was buried at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja on Thursday, July 23, 2020 [NAF]
Even though NAF has pushed back strongly against insinuations of a sinister cover up, its spokesperson, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, says no post-mortem examination was done on the deceased officer.
While speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Friday, July 24, Daramola said an autopsy was unnecessary because there was no doubt as to the cause and manner of Arotile’s death.
He said there were witnesses on the scene of the accident, and it was clear that the pilot died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head caused by the vehicle hitting her from the rear.
He said the deceased’s father, Akintunde Arotile, also expressed confidence in the investigations of the Force and sought closure on the matter.
He said, “Autopsy was not done because it was not requested. The cause of death was already known based on investigation, and how she was taken to the hospital and the confirmation was made.
“There was no doubt in that regard and there was no request from the family for that specifically.”
The three involved in the accident have been identified as Nehemiah Adejoh, who drove the car, Igbekele Folorunsho, and Festus Gbayegun.
Adejoh, it has been revealed, was driving without a licence at the time of the accident.
Daramola said the case will be handed over to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) later on Friday.
Arotile flew several combat missions under Operation Gama Aiki in Minna, Niger State.
She was buried with full military honours in a ceremony which took place at the National Military Cemetery in the capital city on Thursday, July 23.