The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board may cancel as much as half of the results of its 2019 university admissions exams in some states of the federation, a senior official has told PREMIUM TIMES.
The official, who requested anonymity to be able to discuss JAMB’s delay in releasing results, expressed disgust at the massive malpractice recorded during the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) that held between April 11 and 18.
The source said while all parts of the country took part in cheating, the situation was worse in some. He said the “fearless display of fraudulent tactics by some individuals including parents and centre owners,” would leave many people dumbfounded.
While giving reasons for the delay in the release of this year’s UTME results by JAMB, the source said Nigerians would be shocked if they were privy to the recordings from the Closed Circuit Television cameras installed across the about 700 centres used during the examination.
He said at least 50 per cent of centres in some states would likely have their results cancelled.
“Those people, I trembled when I saw the magnitude of malpractice they perpetrated, in spite of the technological measures JAMB took. I don’t know what we can do again,” the source said.
“If you look at the CCTV camera recordings, you would now wonder whether these people thought we were just joking when we insisted on installation of CCTV cameras. I am sure they didn’t believe us because anybody that had believed us would not have tried what they tried in those places.”
The spokesperson for JAMB, Fabian Benjamin, confirmed the large scale exams fraud, but said the board would not stereotype any particular region.
Shortly after the conduct of the examination on April 18, JAMB had announced the cancellation of all results in two of its centres in Abia State.
The two affected centres, Heritage and Infinity CBT Centre and Okwyzil Computer Institute Comprehensive School, Ugwunabo, Aba, were summarily suspended and all candidates who sat for the examinations at the centres were reallocated to other nearby centres.
“All the results of all the examination sessions starting from April 11 to 18, 2019, conducted by the Board at those centres were cancelled,” JAMB stated in one of its bulletins.
The JAMB spokesman, Mr Benjamin, said while widespread cheating as confirmed by CCTVs are not new, the impatience of many Nigerians had pushed JAMB to release results before thorough reviews of the recordings in the past.
“What we have found out is that those who indulge in malpractice are usually encouraged by the impatient attitude of Nigerians who don’t always like matters being followed to a logical conclusion. That way, they always get away with their corrupt practices. But this time, we are patient to ensure that every single infraction is punished.
“We are crossing the ‘ts’ and dotting the ‘is’. We are almost done with the CCTV reviews, we have considered the reports submitted by supervisors, and we have ensured that centres where widespread cheating is recorded we are able to fish out the few innocent candidates so that they don’t suffer unjustly. So, very soon, we will release results.”
The official said he believed the problem of widespread malpractice was actually declining.
“It was worse before now but because we used to release results so soon after the examination, culprits are usually not punished. Our target is to have zero malpractice and we will get there,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the source, many JAMB workers who took part in the conduct of the examination in the affected centres would face stiff punishment.
“I only pity our staff who went to conduct the exam in those places because clearly they were culpable. You know it is CBT exam, there is no way the massive fraud could have taken place without their connivance,” the source said.
“For anyone to have done something, our staff must have compromised by agreeing with them. And you know the registrar? He will get to the roots of the matter,” the source said, adding; “And since those ones are our workers, we can take any action we deem necessary without any bureaucracy.”
On when the examination results would be released, the source said that should happen on Friday.
“We were thinking we would finish on Wednesday but we couldn’t. When people post comments on the delay in the release of results, we only keep quiet because they don’t know what we know. If you see the level of malpractice, you would be shocked. But am sure by Friday, the board should be able to release the results,” he said.
As solution to the examination malpractices observed during the examination, the source said JAMB may have to prune down the number of CBT centres taking part in its examination. This is as the official accused the private centres, owned by individuals as the major culprits.
“Another thing is that we will prune down centres drastically. All those private centres owned by individuals are significantly corrupt, and we may have to throw away not less than 400 centres. They don’t have credibility, capacity and competence. In fact, they don’t have anything. They just see these things as business and jump into it. We must have been deceived during their accreditations by borrowing facilities and human resources.”
The JAMB Registrar, Isiaq Oloyede, had said a year ago that subsequent UTME results would not be released in less than 24 hours as done in the past, saying CCTV recordings have always shown that many candidates whose results were released did not deserve to have results.
“At least, we have displayed our capacity and competence that we can conduct the examination and release results immediately. But I can assure you that subsequently, JAMB under our watch would not release any result until each centre is properly screened through the CCTV footages,” Mr Oloyede said at a forum with the media in 2018.
This year, more than 100 persons were arrested nationwide by security operatives for engaging in one form of examination malpractice or the other, while more than 50 CBT centres were summarily suspended for allegedly aiding malpractice or over logistics challenges.