President Muhammadu Buhari will not make the trip to Sambisa forest tomorrow as he has delegated the Minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, to represent him.
Chief of Army staff, Tukur Buratai disclosed on Saturday that Dan-Ali would represent Buhari at the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship holding in Sambisa forest on Monday.
David Ahmad, chief of training and operations at the army headquarters, had earlier announced that Buhari would declare the ceremony open.
But for the change in plan, Buhari would have been the first president to visit the former stronghold of the Boko Haram sect in Borno state.
Sambisa was referred to as the headquarters of the sect.
The visit would have also been Buhari’s first trip outside the presidential villa in Abuja since he returned to the country after a 49-day medical vacation in the UK.
However, Buratai said the army chose Sambisa forest for the event in order to consolidate its grip on the area.
“We have been in the north-east, fighting the Boko Haram terrorists, and you know the significance of the Sambisa forest to them,” he told reporters in Maiduguri on Saturday.
“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.”
“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,” he said.