By Adeola Akinyemi (Education Reporter)

Prospective candidates for this year's Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry Examination, have seeved a sigh of relief as the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) scrapped the use of National Identity Number for registration in this year’s UTME) and Direct Entry examination, basing it on inadequate enrollment centres.

JAMB explained this on Saturday, noting that the 1,000 enrollment centres operated by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) nationwide were insufficient to successfully register applicants ahead of the conduct of the examinations. According to the board, registration for this year’s examination will begin on Monday January 13 and end on February 17, while the examination will commence on March 14 and end on April 4, 2020. Applicants have been directed by JAMB to send their names to 55019 to create their profile for registration.

JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede stated this during a press briefing with Journalists on Saturday at the headquarters of the board in Bwari, Abuja. He was accompanied by the Director- General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, at the briefing. Earlier, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had directed JAMB to adopt the use of NIN for its 2020 registration process for the conduct of its examinations but did not state the time to commence implementation.

Prof Oloyede said: “We had agreed that NIN would be a pre-requisite for registration for 2020 UTME which will commence on Monday. But there was public outcry on the frustrations and difficulties that candidates are subjected to before getting the NIN. “We were forced to review our strategies and we arrived at a point that it was obvious that we could not go ahead with NIN as pre-requisite for registration because of the challenges that might affect the participation of large number of candidates. “To this end, we have decided to suspend the use of NIN for 2020 UTME exercise.

We have unanimously agreed to shift the use of NIN to 2021 when candidates must have been given enough time and opportunity to get the NIN. However, about 11, 000 of our staff, permanent and adhoc, that would participate in the exercise would still be required to submit their NIN for verification.” The JAMB boss also told newsmen that the adoption of the number for registration was aimed at curbing multiple registration and other infractions during the conduct of its examinations.

He added that the board was ready to fish out exam fraudsters during the conduct of this year’s exams. In his remarks, the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu .A. Aziz, said the commission needed 4,000 enrollment centers nationwide to carry out registration services anytime.

He stated that the commission would improve on its facilities and manpower ahead of 2021 UTME exercise. The NIMC DG however admonished applicants that would participate in the 2021 UTME exercise to start the process of getting their NIN as early as possible to avoid the rush that would come with the deadline.