By Tayo Shomide (Education Correspondent)
Determined to stamp out all forms of malpractices in its UTME examination system, the authorities of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), on Friday, handed over to the police, one Chinedu Ifesinachi John, a 21-year-old candidate in the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) who had accused JAMB of altering his results.
The JAMB candidate came on the invitation to the office of the exam body in the company of his father, John Ifenkpam, and a lawyer, Ikeazor Akaiwe, to prove to JAMB that his accusations were real. The young man had accused JAMB of irregularities and inconsistencies in the results it awarded him since 2019 when he claimed he wrote his first UTME entrance examination.
He said the results he always receives from JAMB since he began to sit for its exams are always conflicting and that such development had compounded things for him. According to the young man, “The result I have been receiving is not the result I am entitled to. I wrote the first JAMB in 2019.
"The first time they sent 328, later I saw a 278 score when I checked it. I printed it. That year, I couldn’t meet up for admission because I had wanted to study medicine and surgery at the University of Ibadan. In 2020 the same thing happened. I scored 343 by the time I went to the portal to print I saw 306. I used the 306 and it gave me admission to UI.
"But because I didn’t have further mathematics I had to forfeit it. I decided to leave medicine and surgery for them in 2021, so I picked petroleum engineering. Again, in 2021, JAMB issued me two results. I saw 380 the first time I checked, then the second time I saw 265.”
John's family alleged that the said conflicting results had caused several setbacks to the candidate arising from the alleged alteration of the young man's result by JAMB. This scenario prompted the family to a lawyer, Barrister Akaiwe, to help sort out this maze.
Akaiwe was said to have written to JAMB, on behalf of his client, to complain about the alleged alterations, consequent upon which he demanded N1 billion as cost of damages suffered by his client as a result of the alleged inconsistencies by JAMB. He threatened the exam body with a lawsuit if it failed to accede to the candidate's demand.
Following this development, a meeting between the JAMB management and the candidate was called on Friday at the JAMB headquarters in the Bwari Area Council of Abuja. John attended the meeting with his father and his counsel.
They were ushered into the meeting by the officials of JAMB led by its registrar, Prof. Is-haq Ooyede, who reportedly provided evidence of JAMB dealings so far with the candidate since 2019. With the available evidences however, JAMB was said to have absolved the board of culpability in the allegations leveled against it by John.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Prof. Oloyede took umbrage that the candidate had accused JAMB of deliberately altering his results. He explained that there was no evidence that JAMB had, at any time, forwarded two different results to the candidate within the last three years as he had claimed.
Prof. Oloyede however charged at the candidate's father, saying that “We will give you five minutes for your child to tell you the truth. If he doesn’t tell you the truth and come back we will show you what your son has done and hand him over to the police.
“Who is helping you to do it? How much did you pay? if you don’t tell your father the truth we will hand you over to the police and you must be prosecuted.”
The JAMB Registrar said there are 10 other candidates in a similar situation as John, and that the results of all the 11 alleged culprits would be suspended pending thorough investigation and prosecution of the matter.
“There was never any communication of 380 with this boy. Because this boy has accused JAMB, we are going to withhold his result until the investigation is concluded. We are going to request that our interactions with him be subjected to the public.
“As far as I am concerned I am reporting you to the IG (police boss) now except you tell me who helped you to commit this crime,” the registrar threatened. The candidate was subsequently handed over to the police for prosecution.
A dependable source in JAMB had explained that what the candidate did was to simply save a number with JAMB’s code of 55019 on another phone and then he usually sends his preferred scores to himself with the saved number to appear as if the message emanates from the board.
“It is unknown to these people that technology can expose all their crooked ways. Everything we do is recorded and all our partner mobile operators understand why records are important.
“So when we opened the query portal for them and we revealed the number they saved with 55019 to generate the concocted results, they were shocked. JAMB is far ahead of the criminals.”
The registrar however insists that since the young candidate has leveled false accusations against JAMB, he would ultimately face the full weight of the legal implications of his action, which Prof. Oloyede said, bothers on forgery.
There are very strong indications that JAMB tutorial centers are accomplices. According to the registrar, early investigations by the exam board indicate that the embattled candidate, Chinedu Ifesinachi John, had links with one unnamed tutorial centre in Enugu. He vowed that the said tutorial centre and any other accomplice would be tracked down for prosecution.
Prof. Oloyede blamed tutorial centre proprietors for being the brains behind examination malpractice in the country, and threatened that the board would not fail to crack down on them.
Meanwhile, counsel to John had said the family of his client supports any thorough official inquiry into the candidate's allegations against JAMB. Barrister Akaiwe insists that only a fair deal in his client's matter would be acceptable. He maintains that he would watch by while the authorities of JAMB attempts to pervert justice and get his client unduly convicted.
He fumed: “I will not stand against the investigation. Let there be an investigation but what I will not agree to is to prejudge him". (With excerpts from NAN report). NNL.