The names of two young women, Kafayat Sanni and Tolulope Arotile, have gone into the history books as the first female fighter pilot and first female helicopter pilot, respectively, to be produced by the Nigerian Air Force.
The duo was unveiled at an impressive ceremony after their training in the US and South Africa. They were among 13 officers decorated.
Also at the event, the NAF unveiled its first female air warrant officer (AWO), Grace Garba; she became the first woman to be decorated with the rank.
An elated Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, while speaking at the event, described the feat as a “another milestone” in NAF’s 55-year history.
“I am particularly happy because out of the 13 pilots to be winged are two female regular combatant officers,” he remarked.
“They are not only female officers but outstanding aviators. While one of the two pilots is the first female fighter pilot in the 55-year 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.”
Abubakar noted that NAF had trained a total of 67 instructor pilots since 2015, further disclosing that with the new additions the force now has total a total of 101 pilots.
“Currently, we have 61 pilots undergoing basic flying training, while 50 are undergoing various forms of advanced flying training courses both locally and abroad,” he said.
“I am confident that the NAF. and indeed Nigeria, will soon be reaping the benefits that these pilots would undoubtedly add to our operations.”