Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defence, will represent President Muhammadu Buhari at the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship holding in Sambisa forest on Monday.
Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, disclosed this on Saturday.
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.”
He added that following the eventual capture of camp zairo in the forest, the army wanted to consolidate its operations by ensuring that the place was secure.
“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.
Buratai said 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 is part of the training activities scheduled for 2017,” he said.
“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.”