•Borno declares December 22 ‘Sambisa Memorial Day’
Never again will terrorists take over and occupy any part of Nigeria’s territory, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed in Sambisa, yesterday.
The president made the vow when he declared the 2017 Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship (NASAC), open.
Represented by his Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, Buhari noted that holding the championship in the forest was affirmation that government is “resolved to stamp out all activities and operations of Boko Haram insurgents from our territory.
“This championship is showcase of the clear effect and degradation of Boko Haram, with the destruction of Camp Zero, in the heart of Sambisa.
“I can say categorically that, never again, will Boko Haram occupy any of our land.
“I want to use this opportunity to congratulate the Nigerian Army for this achievement and reiterate at this point that it is a case of professional training, that brought the Nigerian Army to this length.”
Buhari restated that through the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (PCNI), the Federal Government will reconstruct facilities and structures destroyed by the terrorists, so that the people of the region could enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Earlier, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the championship was held in the forest to consolidate on the gains achieved by troops in the North East, so far.
“This championship is held here, at the heart of Sambisa, as part of Nigerian Army’s plans to effectively dominate all hostile territories in the North East,” said Buratai.
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 army shooting range at Sambisa after late Lt-Col. Abu Ali.
Ali, who was the commander of an army formation at Mallam Fatori, in Borno East, died in battle, on November 4, 2016 when Boko Haram attempted to invade and take over the town. The army routed the terrorists and took over Sambisa on December 23, 2016, at about 1.35pm, after it overran Camp Zero, their last stronghold in the forest.
Meanwhile, Borno State Government has declared December 22 of every year as Memorial Day, with public holiday, to mark the capture of Sambisa.
Governor Kashim Shettima, who joined Buratai and other military commanders at the opening of the championship, at Sambisa, said the public holiday, named Sambisa Memorial Day, is “aimed at honouring the military strength and victory recorded in the fight against the terrorists in the state.”