Operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have paraded three suspects arrested for alleged examination malpractice in the ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
The Commandant, NSCDC Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, Patrick Ukpen, paraded the suspects in Abuja on Tuesday
He said two of the suspects were apprehended at Baptist Academy, Karu, Abuja.
He said one of them, who is also a candidate was arrested for allegedly going into the examination hall with her mobile phone.
The commandant revealed that the suspect was able to conceal the mobile phone in her underwear and brought it out during the examination.
“We have in our custody today three suspects that were involved in examination malpractice in the ongoing JAMB UTME. Their level of involvement are as follows: A lady whose name is Joy Apkabio, went into the exam hall with a telephone handset and this is against the rules covering the JAMB examination,” Mr Ukpen said
“Upon interrogation, we were also able to arrest her accomplice who is another young man by the name Andrew, who introduced her into the business and was equally involved in sending text messages of supposed answers to the examination she was doing,” he said.
Mr. Ukpen said the lady was arrested by the officers of the NSCDC through the help of CCTV cameras.
“With the use of modern technology; you know the examination centres have CCTV cameras that are sending live transmission of activities that are taking place in the examination hall, and the activities of our men and other JAMB officials who were deployed to the centres. We were able to detect what she was doing and she was immediately arrested,” he said.
Mr Ukpen also said one of the suspects, Chika Egwuonwu, was arrested for extorting about N126,000 from the candidates.
According to the commandant, Mr Egwuonwu, who had confessed to his crime ”was asking the candidates to pay the sum of N1000 for an unknown reason”.
“We were able to arrest the suspect based on the monitoring devices, the devices helped the staff of the board and security agencies to discover the extortion of money and we brought him to Abuja. Investigation is ongoing to get to the root of the alleged crime”, he said
But Mr. Egwuonwu claimed that some of the coordinators collected money from the students and that he found out during his investigations that the act was committed outside his centre.
He said those who extorted the money from the candidates were not his staff.
“While trying to make enquiry, I discovered the act was true but before I could take further action to unravel it, the NSCDC was already there to arrest me”, he said.
“I told the registrar to leave the press conference, media out of it and give me any charge that I am involved in”, Mr. Egwuonwu said.
Also, according to the commandant, “they (suspects) are in our custody now and we are going to carry out further investigations regarding their involvement and to know if there are other accomplices, they will equally be traced and arrested and thereafter, they will be prosecuted.”
Meanwhile, one of the suspects, Andrew Etziuzala, who hails from Edo State and is a student of Nasarawa State University, said he has made the biggest mistake of his life.
“I have made a very big mistake which will not happen again. The painful thing is that it has tarnished my image”, he said
On his part, the Public Relations Officer of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Fabian Benjamin, said the arrest will serve as a deterrent to other candidates.
“Just as the commandant has said, we are doing this not because she has been arrested, we want this to serve as a deterrent to other candidates.”
He said the board was monitoring the co-ordination of the examination across the nation from its headquarters office.
“This particular candidate was spotted from our headquarters, web have made it clear that all our centres are covered by CCTV cameras.
” We got a report that something was happening in Baptist Academy, Karu, and we immediately dispatched a team who went there and got the candidate arrested.We want to sound it very clear that there is no shortcut success. It is no longer business as usual because you will be spotted if you do anything in the examination hall,” Mr Benjamin said.
He said the female candidate went into the hall with her phone and text messages were sent to her.
“We discovered that the answers were for 1990 JAMB questions, they are not for 2018 questions at all. You can see the level of deception. Even if she wasn’t arrested, she would have failed,” he said.
Mr. Benjamin said over 800,000 candidates have written the examination since it started on March 9.
“We want Nigerians to know that the sanctity of this examination is very sacrosanct. We will not allow anybody to destroy what we are doing, we will continue to partner with NSCDC to ensure that whoever attempts to breach the rule of the game is arrested,” he concluded.