A Magistrates’ Court in Kaduna yesterday set free two of the three suspected killers of Nigeria’s first female fighter helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile. But the first suspect, Nehemiah Adejor, who drove the car which allegedly killed Arotile, is to be charged for culpable homicide and criminal conspiracy at the state High Court.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday at the Magistrates’ Court 1, the prosecution counsel, DSP Martins Leo, prayed the court to discharge the 2nd and 3rd suspects, as investigation did not find them wanting. Ruling on the motion, Magistrate Benjamin Hassan, discharged 2nd and 3rd suspects, Folorunsho Igbekele Faith and Gbayegun Deji, based on the police investigation, which did not find them culpable and the legal advice from the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bayero Dari Esq, that they have no case to answer. According to the legal advice from the DPP, read in court, there is no premeditation in the death of the Flying Officer Arotile, but there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the 1st suspect, Adejor, for culpable homicide.
However, the offence is not punishable by death. The legal advice reads in part: “On the 14 day of July, 2020, the suspects, all males, of Auta Alkali Farin Gida, Mando Kaduna inside a Kia Sorento with registration No AZ 478 MKA Kaduna, being driven by the 1st suspect, sited the deceased (NAF/4512F Flying officer Tolulope Arotile) at NAF Base, Kawo, Kaduna, whom they identified as their schoolmate at Air Force Secondary School, Kaduna. “The 1st suspect, full of enthusiasm, recklessly reversed the car in order to meet the deceased and in the process ran over her consequent upon which the deceased lay unconsciously on the ground.
The deceased was rushed to NAFX64 Base Hospital for medical attention but was later pronounced dead by the medical doctors at the hospital. “The suspects were arrested and taken to 461 NAF Hospital Kaduna for toxicology test and results were all negative.
They were later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Kaduna on the 24th day of July, 2020 for further discreet investigation. “Police investigation reveals that all the suspects attended the same secondary school with the deceased and upon sighting her the 1st suspect recklessly reversed the car and eventually ran over the deceased which led to her untimely death.
“The 1st suspect admitted in his cautionary statement that on the 14th day of July, 2020 he was together with the two other suspects in a car KIA Sorento he was driving, when he saw the deceased walking along the roadside of the Air Force Base.” The DPP further advised that the 1st suspect, Adejor, be prosecuted. It said: “From the foregoing there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the 1st suspect for the offence of Culpable Homicide not punishable with death contrary to Section 191 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, 2017 as there is no premeditation in the death of the deceased.”