The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, says the Nigerian Air Force is committed to empowering its female officers just as it empowers their male counterparts.
The CAS says 11 female officers are currently undergoing pilot training programmes within and outside the country.
Abubakar stated this on Friday when he received federal cabinet members who condoled with him over the unfortunate demise of Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.
A statement by NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, partly read, “The CAS noted that Flying Officer Arotile had left her mark in the sands of time which he said proves that when it comes to displaying excellence and adding value to the society, age or gender should not be barriers.
“He disclosed that the NAF would, therefore, continue to give equal opportunities to female officers in terms of training, noting that a total of 11 female student pilots were currently undergoing flying training both within and outside Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, NAF on Friday graduated another set of Instructor Pilots at the 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna.
The IP Course 12/2020 Course, a four-month training, had six participants, comprising one Wing Commander, two Flight Lieutenants, and 3 Flying Officers drawn from different platforms and units in the NAF.
Furthermore, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said on Saturday that through her achievements, Arotile demonstrated that Nigerian youths could attain any height they set out to reach.
In a statement, she said, “Her passing has been particularly saddening for me, first as a mother but more importantly as a public servant whose remit evolves around privileging the youths of Nigeria in achieving the government’s Social Development Mandate.
“Tolulope was a shining star, a beacon of hope and an example of all that is possible when our youths apply themselves. I was particularly impressed by her achievements as a woman making her mark and giant stride in a male-dominated environment.
“At 24, she had already achieved an enviable status as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot and was one of those leading the charge in FG’s battle against banditry and insurgency which continue to contribute to the humanitarian challenges confronting us in the North-East.
“When we speak of the youths as the hope and future of Nigeria, Tolulope’s achievements and accolades stand as testimonials to the potential and promises of our young people as leaders of tomorrow. This is what makes her passing sad and unfortunate.”