The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has immortalised a renowned educationist, scholar and former Principal of Bethlehem Girls’ College, Late Rev. Sister Henrietta Alokha.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Alokha died while rescuing her students during the pipeline explosion at Abule-Ado in Lagos on March 15.
Daramola said the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, unveiled a plaque in Alokha’s honour and named the newly constructed 500-capacity Assembly Hall at the Air Force Secondary School (AFSS), NAF Base Shasha, Lagos after her.
Abubakar, who was represented by AVM Lawal Alao, the Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command (AOC LC), said that Alokha was being immortalised for her selfless efforts in the propagation of learning and service to humanity.
The CAS noted that it was appropriate that a facility such as the Assembly Hall in an institution of learning and character development should be named after someone who had dedicated her life to educating future leaders.
“We remember her for her actions during the Abule-Ado petroleum pipeline explosion which eventually culminated in a fire incident at the Bethlehem Girls’ College.
“Reverend Sister Henrietta made the ultimate sacrifice on March 15, while evacuating her students from the fire caused by the explosion at the school.
“Her bravery on that day paid off as no student of the College was lost to the deadly incident,” he said.
Abubakar said that he was hopeful that naming the Assembly Hall after her would not only be symbolic but would also continually keep her memory fresh in the hearts of people.
“I am convinced that the story of her heroic act on that fateful day will continue to light a path for younger generations and the ones yet to come on the value of selfless service to humanity.
“In addition, her sacrifice will also serve as a motivation to officers and airmen/airwomen of the NAF who are presently deployed to various theaters of operation in our country.
“I pray for the repose of the soul of Rev. Sister Henrietta Alokha,” he said.
Speaking, the Commander 041 Communications Depot Shasha, Air Commodore Nkem Aguiyi, said that there were similarities between Bethlehem Girls’ College and AFSS, Shasha.
“They are both institutions growing future generations and should, therefore, serve as repositories of the intrinsic qualities demonstrated by Sister Alokha.
“Her name deserves a place in the sands of time as she chose to put humanity before self,” he said.
Aguiyi said that one of the key drivers of CAS’ Vision, which is to “promote and inculcate the core values of integrity, excellence and service delivery”, closely aligns with Alokha’s actions.
Speaking also, Sister Monica Rowland, the Superior-General of the Congregation of Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SSH), the Order to which Sister Alokha belonged, expressed her profound appreciation to the NAF for the honour done too late Alokha.
Rowland said that SSH and indeed the entire Catholic Church was encouraged by the gesture as it would spur others to such selfless service.
She expressed hope that Alokha’s death would be a lesson for leaders to be ready to make sacrifices for the led.
Daramola said amongst those present at the event were the Chief of Staff and Principal Staff Officers of Logistics Command, Commanders and Commandants of NAF Units and Schools in Lagos area.
Also, the NAF Director of Education, as well as delegations from the Lagos and Benin Diocese of the Catholic Church of Nigeria and Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Congregation, witnessed the event.