The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has decorated its first female fighter pilot, Flying Officer Kafayat Omolara Sanni, and the first female helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile.
They were the two female pilots among the 13 that were winged.
The two female pilots had successfully completed their pilot training courses in the United States of America and South Africa.
The Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar decorated them alongside another officer Grace Garba, the first female Air Warrant Officer, and 10 0ther officers at the NAF headquarters in Abuja on the 15th of October 2019.
Since the Force was established on April 18, 1964, Grace Garba is the first female Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) promoted to the highest rank in the Non-Commissioned Officers’ cadre.
Flying Officer Kafayat Omolara Sanni and Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile were admitted to the Nigerian Air Force on the 22nd of December 2012 and became an officer in the force on the 16th of September, 2017.
Sanni said her success was borne out of a passion for doing what has been stereotyped to be a man’s job.
While Arotile said being a military personnel has been her longtime ambition because she admires “the carriage and what the force stands for.”
“Today indeed marks another milestone in the history of the NAF and I am gratified to be part of it.
I am particularly happy because out of the 13 pilots to be winged are two female Regular Combatant officers.
They are not only female officers but outstanding aviators.
While one of the two pilots is the first female fighter pilot in the 55 years history of the NAF, the second one is the first female combat helicopter pilot.
The first female fighter pilot trained at the United States Air Force following an excellent performance during her initial flying training course at 401 Flying Training School in Kaduna.
While the second graduated from Starlite International Training Academy. They both performed excellently well during their training.
Our records indicate that as at today, we have trained a total of 67 Instructor pilots since 2015.
Furthermore, with the winging of these pilots today, the NAF would have winged a total of 101 pilots within the same period.
Currently, we have 61 pilots undergoing basic flying training, while 50 are undergoing various forms of advanced flying training courses both locally and abroad.
As such we are highly delighted to see the rewards of our collective efforts.
I am confident that the NAF and indeed Nigeria will soon be reaping the benefits that these pilots would undoubtedly add to our operations.”