The Nigerian Air Force has publicly identified the driver of the vehicle that killed Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference at the NAF Headquarters, Abuja, on Sunday, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, revealed the name of the driver as Mr Nehemiah Adejoh.
Adejoh, according to Daramola, was together with Igbekele Folorunsho and Festus Gbayegun when he saw his ex-classmate, the late Arotile, at NAF Base in Kaduna and hit her while reversing the vehicle in trying to greet the pilot.
The NAF spokesperson revealed that Arotile died of blood forced trauma to the head and significant bleeding, as she hit her head on the pavement of the road and the car also climbed part of her body.
He said: “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.
“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.”
Daramola said Arotile was rushed to NAF hospital in the base but was confirmed dead at 04:45pm.
He also stated that no trace of alcohol or any other substance was found in the system of the trio.
He, however, noted that Adejoh, the driver of the vehicle, had no driving licence when interrogated, adding that the case will be transferred to the Nigeria Police Force as it is a civil case.
Daramola also stated that the details of the preliminary investigation into the death of the 24-year-old pilot have been communicated to the family of the deceased.