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 allegation of admission racketeering in the nation’s universities, following a motion moved by Sen. Onyeka Nwebonyi of Ebonyi North.
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 the 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, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, commended the Senate for giving opportunity to 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, Oloyede said the affected candidate sat for 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 241 position in the ranking of applicants for the medical programme in the university after all her other academic performances, including 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 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 Medical Laboratory and was told to reduce the number, Oloyede said it was discovered that many other applicants who were admitted “under the table” (illegally) scored above her.
“Up till today, the lady has no approval letter from JAMB neither for Medicine nor Medical Laboratory. And if she is doing Medical Laboratory, she is doing it in an arrangement between her and the institution,” Oloyede said.
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”.
Oloyede, however, said that the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) of JAMB detected the issue, with the admission having ranked in distant 241 position, 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 the 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,” Oloyede added.
The registrar assured the public that the board and its staff would be vindicated, and expressed delight over the mediating role that JAMB played between candidates and institutions in ensuring equity and fairness.