NAIJA AND GLOBAL NEWS

15 JAMB Officials Risk Seven-Year Jail Term

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Following the various irregularities that characterised the conduct of this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), 15 state coordinators of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) have been served queries by the management of the Board over their role in the shabby conduct of the examination, it has been learnt.
A source at the Bwari Headquarters of JAMB said that Registrar of the Board, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, is not happy with the aftermath of the computer-based examination, this year, which has attracted a lot of criticisms to the Board.
The coordinators, who were served queries, were asked to explain why centres they had earlier certified okay for the conduct of the examination developed hitches.
While it was learnt that some of the officials were said to have compromised or were negligent in their duty while certifying some centres appropriate for the examination, others were allegedly involved in examination malpractices.
It was gathered that Ojerinde, at a meeting with the coordinators, tongue-lashed those he accused of frustrating his efforts.
Public Relations Officer of the Board, Fabian Benjamin, said, yesterday, said that all those found to have committed negligence of duty before and during the examination would face disciplinary committee.
He said that the Board would not name those centres involved in financial inducement of JAMB officials, but added that security agencies are already investigating those who offered bribe and those who collected money to aid examination malpractices.
“Yes, we don’t want to mention names now because security operatives are already working on that. We have instances of a centre owner offering money to JAMB official,” he said.
It was learnt that some JAMB staff are already facing disciplinary committee for extorting money from candidates before the conduct of the examination, even as some of them were caught on camera in states such as Edo, Rivers and Lagos.
According to the spokesperson for the Board, all those found guilty of aiding and abetting examination malpractices in the conduct of this year’s UTME face sack and prosecution, which, he said, is seven years jail term punishment as contained in the JAMB Act.
“The minimum punishment is to be sacked. They may be sacked and jailed for seven years, because that is what the JAMB Act says. Anybody who is involved in examination malpractices will be sentenced to seven years in jail,” he said.
When asked about what happened to centres that were earlier certified okay for the conduct of the examination, but later developed hitches, Fabian blamed coordinators of the centres, who, according to him, had given impression that they had capacity to carry candidates by providing computers during pre-examination inspetion and only to supply less or had malfunctioning computers during the examination.
He said that the JAMB officials who were charged with the responsibility of carrying out due diligence on the centres failed to carry out their duties, adding that such staff are already facing disciplinary committee for their roles.
The Board, he explained, had learnt a lot of lesson from the pitfalls from the last UTME, noting that many stakeholders were still opposed to the Computer-Based Test.
Over 1,592,44 candidates registered for the 2016 UTME nationwide and in seven foreign countries.
Ojerinde had, on Friday, at a press conference to review the conduct of the UTME, lamented that conducting examination in Nigeria is fast becoming a war.
The JAMB boss said the actual candidates that sat for the examination was 1,546,633, representing 97.12 per cent, while a total of 23,577 candidates absented from the examination, representing 1.48 per cent of the total number candidates that registered for the 2016 UTME.
He disclosed that a total of 145,704, representing 9.1 per cent of candidates, had the issue of multiple results, which the Board has tried to sort out.
The JAMB registrar further disclosed that results of Uromi approved UTME Centre in Edo State, were being withheld as a result of massive irregularities and invasion of the centre by armed hoodlums.
A JAMB official in charge of the centre was said to have rejected an offer of N1 million “corporation fee” (bribe), allegedly by the owner of the centre in collaboration with some parents and candidates to allow them perpetrate examination malpractices.
He disclosed that the armed invaders were over 20 persons, adding that the timely intervention of the military saved the day and that the candidates for the centre were relocated to Auchi, where the remaining examinations were held with the supervision of soldiers.
Ojerinde, however, admitted that there were some challenges in the first and second days of the examination, leading to relocation of 59,000 candidates to new centres and 16 states.
He promised that special arrangement would be made for those who were genuinely affected by the relocation to sit for the examination at a rescheduled date to be announced to them.




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