The event was organised on Friday by the Ministry of Youths and Sports, in partnership with ‘I Choose Life Foundation’, in the spirit of celebrating young Nigerians during the independence anniversary.
Nigeria’s first-ever female combat helicopter pilot, Ms Arotile, 24, died in a car accident on July 14 this year in Kaduna State.
According to the preliminary investigative report by the air force, she was killed by her friend who mistakenly hit her with his vehicle. Her death was mourned all over the country.
The Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, during the launch of “The Heroes Comic Series” on Friday, said the NAF was devastated by the loss of Ms Arotile.
“We were devastated by the tragic and untimely passing of our gallant air staff. It was a painful loss that shook the Nigerian Air Force and the country itself,” said Mr Abubakar, who was represented by Oladayo Amao, the NAF’s Chief of policy and plans.
The comic book, which is for children between ages three-13, was written to serve as a source of encouragement to young Nigerians to make choices that will benefit them and their nation, said Mr Abubakar.
It also aimed to be a source of inspiration to the girl-child, he added.
The Air Staff Chief noted that Ms Arotile’s gallantry is worthy of emulation, adding that already, young Nigerians are being motivated by it.
He disclosed that six young female Nigerians had shown interest in the recruitment process of the NAF.
Asides from this, he said, another twelve female combats, who were highly motivated by the late Arotile’s bravery, and had undergone training within and outside Nigeria, would be returned as air personnel at the Nigerian Air Force.
As part of the NAF’s tradition of immortalising its fallen heroes for their sacrifice, the book was launched to honour her, the Air Staff Chief said.
This was not the first time the NAF would honour the late flying officer since her death in July.
Last month, a Pilots’ Crew ‘Room’ at the 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) in Port Harcourt was remodelled and renamed in her name.
The minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, described the late Ms Arotile as a hero “even in death.”
“She was brave, courageous and efficient, fighting alongside the army in combat with Boko haram within her little time here,” said Mrs Tallen.
The event had in attendance the Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare; the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; and popular musician, Waje among others.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, entreated the Nigerian youth to explore opportunities abound in the tech and sporting space, so as to contribute to national development.
The coordinator of ‘I Choose Life Foundation’, Chijoke Obioma, said the foundation would continue to harness the potential of Nigerian youth through capacity building and mentorship.
Source: NAF releases comic book in honour of Nigeria’s first female flying officer
By Aishat Babatunde
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