President Muhammadu Buhari and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria will no longer be at this year’s Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship holding in the Sambisa forest on Monday March 26.
Earlier, the Chief of Training and Operations, Army, Major General David Amadu, had during a press briefing on Friday in Maiduguri to kick-start the NASAC 2017 championship, said the championship would be formally declared open by the President on Monday, March 27, 2017.
According to him, President Buhari will be accompanied by the Minister of Defense, Alhaji Mannir Ali and Service Chiefs, Chief of Defense Staff, General Gabriel Olanisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Sadique and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Obet Ebas.
However, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen.Tukur Buratai on Saturday said President Buhari would only be represented at the opening of the event by the Minister of Defense, Alhaji Dan-Ali.
The army boss stated this when he addressed newsmen in Maiduguri on the final arrangements for the event.
He said, “We have been in the North East, fighting the Boko Haram terrorists, and you know the significance of the Sambisa forest to them. It used to be one of their centres; in fact, we suspect that their command and control centre was located there before its eventual capture.’’
Buratai hinted that the reason for holding the event at Sambisa forest was for the Nigerian Army to consolidate its operations in the place and ensure it is secured.
“We also want the place to be dominated by our troops and also to get firm control, so that we will continue to dominate the area.
“The Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship is part of the training activities scheduled for 2017. It is a championship among the formations of the Nigerian Army. The objective of the event is to sharpen the marksmanship skills of the army personnel,” he explained.
Sambisa forest was the headquarters of Boko Haram until they were eventually flushed out of the place by the military in December last year.