President Muhammadu Buhari declared in Sambisa forest on Monday that never again will terrorists take over and occupy any part of Nigeriaâ€™s territory.
The President made the vow when he opened the 2017 Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship (NASAC).
Represented by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, Buhari noted that holding the championship in the forest was an affirmation that government was â€œresolved to stamp out all activities and operations of the Boko Haram insurgents from our territory.â€
â€œThis championship is a showcase of the clear effect and degradation of the Boko Haram terrorist group with the destruction of Camp Zairo in the heart of the famous Sambisa forest.
â€œI can say categorically that never again will Boko Haram occupy any of our land.
â€œI want to use this opportunity to congratulate the Nigerian Army for this achievement and reiterate at this point by noting that it is a case of professional training that brought the Nigerian Army to this length.â€
Buhari restated that through the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (PCNI), government would reconstruct facilities and structures destroyed by the terrorists so that the people of the region could enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, said the championship was held at the forest to consolidate on the gains achieved by troops in the North East so far.
â€œThis championship is therefore held here at the heart of the Sambisa forest as part of Nigerian Armyâ€™s plans to effectively dominate all hostile territories in the North Eastâ€, Buratai said.
NASAC was held seven years ago at Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, in Kaduna state.
According to Buratai, the championship could not be held since then due to numerous operational engagements by the army.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has named the newly established Nigerian Army shooting range at the Sambisa forest after the late Abu Ali.
Ali, who was the commander of an army formation at Mallam Fatori in Borno east, died in a battle on November 4, 2016 when Boko Haram terrorists attempted to invade and take the town.
The army routed the terrorists and took over Sambisa on December 23, 2016 at about 1.35pm after it overran Camp Zairo, their last strong hold in the forest.