The bill seeks to make provision for disqualification and prohibition of a candidate, notwithstanding the criminal prosecution of such cheaters.
A bill seeking to amend the West African Examination Council, WAEC, Act of 2004 on Thursday passed its second reading in the House of Representatives.
The proposed legislation seeks to give effect to the revised convention of WAEC.
The bill seeks to domesticate the revised convention of WAEC to provide more offences as they relate to examination malpractices.
It seeks to increase the penalty for such malpractices as a deterrent as well as provide a stiffer penalty of N200,000 fines instead of N2,000.
The bill also seeks to make provision for disqualification and prohibition of a candidate, notwithstanding criminal prosecution of such cheaters.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill on Thursday, the Majority Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola (PDP-Oyo), said that the bill, if passed would further guarantee the standard of examination in the country.
She said that because of the high incidences of examination malpractices, WAEC had thought it fit to amend the whole of Section 19 of the principal law. She said this was done by listing the offences that constitute such malpractices.
The lawmaker said that such malpractices include illegal possession of examination papers and having foreknowledge of the contents of an examination paper.
Other malpractices include making use of an examination paper in any manner or its contents without lawful authority.
“Mr. Speaker, the bill will further guarantee the standard of examination which is at its abysmal level at this point in time,” she said.
The majority leader said there would be examination standardisation in Nigeria through the effective supervision by WAEC if the bill was passed.
Ms. Akande- Adeola said that Nigeria “is a heavy contributor of fund to the council (WAEC) with considerable number of representatives on it.”
The lawmaker, however, said that Nigeria was yet to domesticate the 2003 Convention even though it had ratified it.
She said that Nigeria was the only country out of the five English-speaking West African countries constituting the council membership that had not domesticated the convention.
She urged the house to support the bill to bring Nigeria in line with other subscriber countries to the WAEC Convention.
The majority leader said that the house should therefore domesticate the convention in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Contributing to the debate, Ossai Ossai (PDP- Delta), and Fort Dike (PDP-Anambra) agreed that the amendment would further strengthen WAEC.
The bill, thereafter, scaled the second reading while Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, referred it to the Committee on Education for more legislative input.
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