By Mustapha Buhari, Maiduguri
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected in Bama town, Borno State on Monday as special guest of honour to declare open the Nigerian Army 2017 Small Arms Championship, tagged ‘NASAC 2017.
The president never visited Borno State, the hotbed of Boko Haram insurgency since he took oath of office on May 29, 2015.
The chief of training and operations, Army Headquarters, David Amadu, on Friday at a pre-event press briefing in Maiduguri disclosed the president’s planned visit on Monday.
Mr Amadu, a major general, also said the minister of Defense, Mansur Dan’Ali, and all the service chiefs are also expected at the five-day event.
The general added that after the opening ceremony, the event will then shift to the former enclave of the Boko Haram insurgents, the notorious Sambisa forest.
“The championship will be formally declared open Monday, 27th March 2017 and close on Friday, 31st March 2017.
“During the championship, Nigerian Army has lined up chain of activities which include medical outreach to Bama, Kindyga and Magumeri IDPs camps,” he said.
He said other engagements comprised educational training for Army Education Corps in Maiduguri, security awareness meetings with the traditional rulers, distribution of relief materials to IDPs within Maiduguri city, among others.
“The championship was aimed at testing and shaping the intelligence and professional capacity of the Nigerian Army officers and soldiers as well as equipment,” Mr Amadu added.
“It was also to put the Sambisa forest into proper use and turn it into Nigerian Army training ground as roads and bridges have been constructed and opened to enable the Nigerian Army test its arms, ammunition and equipment as part of its fire arms demonstration”.
“The firearms demonstration was meant to consolidate the professionalism of the Nigerian Army in protecting the integrity of Nigeria and constitutional role of the Nigerian Army, especially, security.”
He allayed fears of civilians who are invited for the competition, declaring that unlike before, the notorious forest is now safe with intense security measures already adopted to guarantee safety for both the troops and invited guests.
He then appealed to the public to cooperate with the Nigerian Army during the championship, pointing out that arrangements had been made to ensure proper security of lives and property within and around the defined range of the firearms demonstration.