The Nigerian Air Force has said it will hand over the driver and two other occupants of the Kia Sorento SUV which killed Nigeria’s first female combat pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, to the police for investigation and prosecution.The NAF disclosed that the suspects – Mr Nehemiah Adejoh, Mr Igbekele Folorunsho and Mr Festus Gbayegun – all former schoolmates of the deceased at the Air Force Secondary School (now Air Force Comprehensive School) Kaduna, were still in custody.after investigations, the culpable person among the suspects would face manslaughter charges.
Disclosing the details of the preliminary investigation to journalists at the NAF Headquarters in Abuja on Sunday, the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Comm. Ibikunle Daramola, said the service would work with the police to prefer appropriate charges against the culpable persons among the vehicle occupants.Arotile, 24, was knocked down by the suspects at the NAF base in Kaduna last Tuesday.Following Arotile’s death, her family, groups including the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, had called for an investigation into her death.
Afenifere, which spoke through its spokesman, rejected the freak accident, which the Air Force said caused her death.But on Sunday, the Air Force gave more insights into the accident. It said the driver, Adejoh was reversing the Kia Sorento SUV when it hit Arotile who fell and hit her head on the tarmac. The car also ran over parts of her body after knocking her down.The Squadron Pilot at the 405 Helicopter Combat Training Group, Enugu, subsequently died from loss of blood and trauma to the head at the 461 NAF Hospital, Kaduna.
Culpable suspect may face manslaughter charges
One of our correspondents learnt that the culpable person among occupants of the car might face manslaughter charges and on conviction, is liable to seven years’ imprisonment, according to Section 28 of the Road Traffic Law which provides that where reckless and dangerous driving has caused the death of a person, the accused person shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment of seven years.Daramola said the late pilot, who was attached to the Air Component of Operation Gama Aiki in Minna, Niger State, had just completed her promotion examination and was in Kaduna awaiting deployment for her next assignment.
According to him, she was staying with her sister, Mrs Damilola Adegboye, at the Sabo area in Kaduna and visiting the NAF Base whenever necessary.