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JAMB welcomes Senate’s probe of admission racketeering in varsities

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has welcomed the decision of the Senate to probe alleged admission racketeering in universities, saying the exam body would be vindicated.

The Senate had, on Wednesday, agreed to investigate allegations of admission racketeering, following a motion moved by Onyeka Nwebonyi of Ebonyi North.

Ms Nwebonyi, who cited admission travails of one Chinyere Ekwe at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), alleged that some university staff members conspired with JAMB’s officials to carry out unwholesome practices.

She said this prompted Senate President Godswill Akpabio to call for a fair hearing, saying JAMB was known to be a reputable institution.

However, while reacting to the development during the Customer Service Week of the board in Abuja, JAMB’s registrar, Ishaq Oloyede, commended the Senate for allowing the exam body to defend itself over the issue.

“Something happened in the Senate when a motion was moved to take certain steps about what was alleged to be a connivance between JAMB and some institutions on admission racketeering, and that was on the floor of the Senate.

“But anything that appears negative also has a positive in it. The Senate President said JAMB must be heard because JAMB has integrity.

“I want all of us to appreciate the Senate president in particular and the entire Senate for the wise counsel. We thank them sincerely, and we say thank you for giving us the opportunity to be heard,” he said.

Clarifying the major issues in the allegation, Mr Oloyede said the affected candidate sat the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), where she scored 291.

He said the girl, who applied to study medicine and surgery at UNN, was in the 241 position in the ranking of applicants for the medical programme in the university after all her other academic performances, including her post-UTME score, were calculated by the institution.

“Seeing the reality of the ranking, this lady did not apply to change her course, but the university decided she changes to medical laboratory, and a proposal was made to her, and she accepted the medical laboratory in writing.

“The institution then recommended her for admission into the medical laboratory, and we knew that she could not have been taken for Medicine because that year, the university admitted more than the approved number,” he said.

While saying that the university admitted above its given departmental quota in the medical laboratory and was told to reduce the number, Mr Oloyede said it was discovered that many other applicants who were admitted “under the table” (illegally) scored above her.

The JAMB boss said, ”The university went beyond that in March this year on the arrangement of the Honourable Minister that we condoned some illegality in admission between 2017 and 2020.”

He said they now recommended the girl as undisclosed admission – that is, admission done under the table, saying, “You can come in like that, using the waiver of the Honourable Minister”.

Mr Oloyede, however, said that the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) of JAMB detected the issue, with the admission having ranked in distant 241 positions, which made her stand no chance to be admitted.

The JAMB boss further disclosed that the university ought to have followed all procedures of admitting candidates, starting from ensuring that they conform to the quota allocated to them and ranking order, which was ignored in this case.

“The truth of the matter is that if she has a letter of provisional admission, it is not from JAMB. So we welcome the wise counsel of the Senate president that the matter be investigated. We will cooperate with the Senate,” Mr Oloyede added.

The registrar assured the public that the board and its staff would be vindicated and expressed delight over JAMB’s mediating role between candidates and institutions in ensuring equity and fairness.

(NAN)