Tolulope Arotile: An Avoidable Calamitous Death

Tolulope Arotile: An Avoidable Calamitous Death

By – Tunde Fadipe

This week’s edition of Wednesday musings with TOFAD is premised on the avoidable calamitous death of Nigeria’s first female combat pilot, Tolulope Arotile.

We can continue to mourn and cry over the death of flying officer Tolulope Arotile, however, our cries will never bring her back and our mourning will not change the fact that her death was avoidable. May God console the family.

It’s sad and terribly unimaginable that those who are saddled with the responsibility of implementing and monitoring policies in Nigeria are actually the greatest enemies of the entity called Nigeria.

Nigeria’s problem is not about policies but the implementation. Those who are being paid to implement the laws that come with the policies, especially, the uniform Institutions will always find a way around it to personally enrich themselves.

Let me digress a little, at the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic in the world and the discovery of some cases in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari issued a statement of restriction of movement across the state borders in Nigeria. The presidential order was just a mere statement to Nigeria Police that supposed to implement that emergency order.

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There was no restriction of movement to those who had money to bribe the police with a thousand naira as opposed to the initial two hundred naira. It was a huge money-making venture to Nigeria Police. The health of our people doesn’t really matter and to those who died through accident or contract COVID-19 during that time and even now, you will agree with me it’s all avoidable.

Every organisation in Nigeria has a way of circumventing the law, rip the masses and enrich themselves. The international passport office is not excluded, anyone can get whatever provided he has extra money to pay.

Coming back to the death of Arotile, it was actually reported that she was knocked down by a vehicle driven by one of her classmates who was so excited to see his successful combat female pilot friend. The narrative is fine and good, I personally do not have any reason not to believe the Air Force.

The reality is that the driver of the car that knocked that lady down was not supposed to hold a steering as far as Nigerian law is concerned. There’s a law that’s guiding vehicle driving and road usage in Nigeria. The first of that law is for anyone that will drive on Nigerian road to possess a valid driver’s license. Also, the bearer of the driver’s license must be above eighteen and must have attended a driving school with a certificate presented.

Go to road safety office and see how they are helping the applicants arrange fake driving school certificates. The process of obtaining a driver’s license in Nigeria is just too casual to reflect any form of sanity. Like obtaining an international passport, you can get your driver’s license without any hassle, provided you have bogus money to pay. It’s just a way for those who are in charge to enrich themselves.

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What’s the cost of a driver’s licence in Nigeria? The cost varies depending on who you are and what you need it for. The real cost, however, is that you can actually travel from Sokoto to Calabar in Nigeria without license provided you have plenty of Five Hundred Naira to bribe the security officers on your way. It really doesn’t matter how many  lives you put in jeopardy on the suicide mission. This country is funny.

I have once worked in a depot; one of the rules of safety is that the roads are marked and it’s usually one way. Reversing inside a military base is unusual and abnormal, although, I haven’t visited the Air Force base in Kaduna before. There’s also a speed limit within the depot.

Finally, like so many deaths we have recorded in the past and still recording due to insurgency and militia attacks, all are avoidable if those who are supposed to implement the critical and crucial parts of our policies are doing what they are supposed to do.

Nigeria system failed Arotile and so many others who died preventable deaths. She was actually betrayed by the country she swore an oath to protect.

Rest in peace Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.

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