Sambisa Forest located in northeast Nigeria was a bastion of the dissident Boko Haram. For years, they infiltrated communities in the region from the enclave, killing and looting homes.

They come out at night, stay near the communities at attack them at dawn.

Unabated attacks happened within the region for over seven years, until military increased counter-terrorism operations in the area.

Over 2 million persons were displaced, as they pushed for an Islamic state and an end to Western education in the region.

In the heat of the operations, the terrorists fled their darling bastion, dispersing to various locations.

The military had taken hold of Sambisa Forest, in a feat highly celebrated by President Muhammadu Buhari who described it as the best Christmas gift.

Months after the notorious forest was taken over in December 2016, the military wants to convert the terrorists’ stronghold into a training ground – which it was initially used for before the terrorists took over.

The Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Army headquarters, told reporters in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State on Friday  that President Buhari is expected to declare open this year’s Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship in Sambisa forest.

Ahmadu said the event was slated for March 27 to 31 at the former stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgents.

He said that the championship was part of the training activities of the Nigerian Army aimed at sharpening marksmanship of its personal.

“The Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship otherwise known as NASAC 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," Ahmadu said.

The News Agency of Ngieria quoted him as saying that “all formations of the Nigerian Army will be competing with the best carting away the prestigious Chief of Army Staff trophy".

Ahmadu said that the championship was aimed at consolidating on the total defeat and routing out of Boko Haram terrorists from their operational headquarters in camp zero in Sambisa forest.

"Furthermore, the championship will also mark the commencement of the ongoing plan to move speedily and make the Sambisa forest general area safe for habitation.

"It is also to make the place an area for the Nigerian Army training activities.

"To this end provisions had already been made for the reopening of more roads, construction of culverts and bridges by army engineers to facilitate easy movement to the general area.

"There is no gain saying that the championship is set to another epoch-making event that will further emphasise the Nigerian Army efforts and resolve in meeting its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation," he said.