How We Conducted UTME 2019- Full Statement of JAMB Registrar
(Text of the Press Statement by the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Is-haq O. Oloyede, OFR, FNAL, on the Release of the 2019 UTME Results at JAMB Headquarters, Bwari, Abuja, on Saturday, May 11, 2019)
DOING THINGS RIGHT AND DOING RIGHT THINGS
BEING THOUGHTFUL AND GRATEFUL
There is an axiom that whoever is thoughtful is grateful. As a Board, thinking about the challenges so far, both real and contrived, I want to thank you and other Nigerians who have been assisting us in discharging the onerous task of our mandate. I especially acknowledge the prominent Nigerians who have sacrificed their time and energy in the successful conduct and supervision of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) this year.
The administration of UTME is a collective effort and crucial national assignment. About 7,000 human resources were at the disposal of the Board for the conduct of the examination, whereas the entire workforce of JAMB is less than 1,800 across the states of the Federation. These abundant human resources assisted the Board tremendously and we are grateful to them for making their services available to us.
In each of the 702 Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres, there were ten personnel comprising three permanent or adhoc staff of JAMB as Supervisor, Technical Officer and Biometric Verification Machine (BVM); officer, three Proctors appointed by the Chief External Examiner of each state, who is a representative of the Vice-Chancellors, Rectors or Provosts, two corps members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and two representatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). In other words, each CBT Centre is manned by ten resident officer as follows.
i) Supervisor – 1
ii) Technical Staff – 1
iii) Biometric Verification/ Reporting Officer – 1
iv) Proctors – 3
v) NYSC Corps member – 2
vi) Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps – 2
Total – 10
In addition each centre has its local staff who must have been pre-registered with the Board and to whom a total sum of N10,000 per day is paid by the Board despite the fact that the CBT centre owners are paid N600 per candidate by the Board.
Ten in situ officers are in addition to members of ten committees from a wide spectrum of the Nigerian society saddled with one responsibility or another of monitoring (online and onland) supervising the centres and ensuring the smooth running of the examinations.
The diversity of the mobilized officials for the UTME would have assured one of the remoteness of organised crime targeted against the examinations. However, the menace could still not be stamped out partly because of the fact that out of 702 CBT centres used across the country, only 16 are owned by JAMB while 223 are owned by public institutions. The largest percentage of these centres is owned by private individuals who can be regarded as genuine contributors, whilst a few has inimical vested interests which may be at variance with those of the Board or the Nation.
BETWEEN THEN AND NOW
Distinguished gentlemen, on assumption of office in August 2016, only few Nigerians believed in our capacity to deliver the goods of our mandate. Irrespective of my role before now in the introduction of the CBT and e-testing to the Nigerian tertiary education system when I was Vice-Chancellor, there were chronic pessimists and inveterate critics who gave us no breathing space.
The organised hullabaloo and orchestrated mudslinging at the time informed our gradual approach in confronting what we believed would be a war. No doubt, examination malpractice is a cankerworm that has eaten deeply not only into Nigeria but also the rest of the world, especially the developed countries such as the USA and U.K.
For instance, “Operation Varsity Blues” in the US this year, which revealed the criminal conspiracy to influence admissions at many leading American universities, is instructive. The scam and the bribery underpinning the scenario were revealing as the roles of 33 parents of admission applicants who had been part of a cartel that had paid more than 25 million US dollars over a period of time to influence admissions became public knowledge.
The hard decision which Harvard University had to take on its over -40 year-old sexual harassment episode by one of its top-most Prof. Emeriti was also instructive of the global nature of the malaise.
In Nigeria too, examination malpractice is exacerbated by the insatiable greed and desperate antics of parents who are hell-bent on inducting their innocent and not-so-innocent children into the world of sharp practices and corruption. Yet, the given circumstances made it difficult for us in 2017 to adopt the international best practice of pre-release clinical scrutiny of the results of the the examination of this nature especially when one is aware of how endemic the rot had been since the period of the Paper and Pencil Test till the recently introduced CBT.
Thus, we released the 2017 and 2018 UTME results almost within 24 hours of each session to convince the doubting Thomases that the expeditious release of CBT results was not beyond our capacity. Yet, at the release of the 2018 results, we publicly announced that the results of 2019 UTME would not be released until we subject the procedure to some scrutiny with a view to ascertaining the degree of success of the structures, infrastructure, policies and processes put in place to checkmate the not very few among us who believe in the pervasively illegitimate means of achieving set ambitions and goals. These are the elements that are proudly committed to the system of rot.
Being a global menace, every serious country is confronting examination malpractice frontally in order to safeguard the integrity of the system. We need the cooperation of all Nigerians to sanitise the system and ensure that not only do we do thing right, we also do right things. There are sufficient illustrations of the globalisation of the menace in the public domain. The good news is that all right-thinking people appreciate the danger inherent in examination malpractice and are all committed to its elimination.
FORGERS AND FRAUDSTERS
It is against the backdrop of the foregoing that it was not only amazing but entertaining that a cluster of fraudsters who had been benefitting from the crime would go to the extent of forging the Registrar’s signature, writing fictitious petitions, threatening the government through JAMB that heavens would fall except certain rules are relaxed and engaging in other unbecoming conduct to pressurize us to capitulate to their desires. They were mistaken.
The Board is therefore grateful to the Government, especially the Honourable Minister of Education, whose support strengthened the Governing Board, ably chaired by Dr Emmanuel A. Ndukwe, in confronting the monster. We also thank the gentlemen of the press and we urge them to always filter through the fake news and sponsored propaganda in circulation, which are masterminded to whittle down our resolve to tackle what we actually consider a national imperative.
Despite our knowledge of the decay that permeates the system, we must confess that we are surprised by the intensity of our findings. The capacity of the syndicate and their modus operandi were beyond our imagination. Some of the structures put in place were tested to their limits, assisted by propaganda and paid agents of multi-dimensional groups. Empty lies were fabricated and made to appear in solid forms in order to achieve some inglorious ends.
Recent pranks by fraudsters include sending invitations to candidates for rescheduled examinations. The obvious fact that the Board is closing all their identified gates of illicit income, has made them become so desperate to the extent of forging my signature and issue press releases in the name of the Board. All candidates are advised to rely on only information issued by the Board through its official platforms.
STRATEGIES OF MALPRACTICE
Some of the strategies deployed to compromise the integrity of the examination were as follows:
1. Multiple Registration
It would be recalled that JAMB had cautioned in the media that no candidate should register more than once and that multiple registrations adversely affect data which impact negatively on education planning in the country. We went further to announce that any candidate who wishes to gain admission through Direct Entry and had registered for UTME need not apply for DE separately but use the opportunity of an upgrade to the DE status at no cost without having to register more than once. Double registrations led to the cancellation of some results last year but we realised that this year not only double registrations but also multiple registrations were recorded. Someone for instance registered as many as 23 times for just a single examination!
The foundation of examination malpractice is laid at the point of registration with the active connivance of some CBT centre owners who allowed themselves to be infiltrated by some who parade themselves as owners of tutorial classes. Unfortunately, some elite institutions that charge exorbitant fees, which they had made the parents part with in the name of secondary education, became active in the procurement of ‘best results’ for their students at all costs. These characters have permeated the system such that it is Herculean to confront and dislodge them. When one of the examination bodies recently decided that one category of teachers would not supervise its public examinations, all hell was let loose. However, the truth of the matter is that the body is correct in its resolve.
There are many ways of multiple registration. While the rich procure graduates and senior undergraduates to write examinations in the name of their pampered children who will then use the highest score to obtain admission to some institutions of choice, the not-too-rich do multiple registrations by simply re-arranging their names, then claim the highest of the scores obtained. The extent of this infraction is appreciated through the huge amount of money JAMB makes from the correction of names , dates of birth by the perpetrators.
One of the major strategies of JAMB to counter this is the introduction of a short code where every candidate types his or her name and sends it directly to 55019 on the particular phone. This was introduced in 2018 UTME but it did not reduce the menace of multiple registrations as over N200 million was still paid to JAMB by the syndicate to correct data relating to pre-meditated name -error.
Another means deployed was to register more than one candidate who will all log into the exam hall and log out the legitimate owner who would now call for help as a result of not being able to access the questions. This scenario will ultimately cause the rescheduling of exams and allow professional examination writers to have as many candidates as possible to sit for.
The Board this year has deployed appropriate technologies to detect not only the facial duplication of candidates but also biometric multiplication. The Board has also gone as far as identifying identical twins and siblings whose existence should be recognised but not allowed to create a loophole for the fraudsters. Many twins across the country will testify that we were in touch with them as a way of verifying their identities. For those we are not sure of their distinct identities, we have created a platform to justify their characteristics in order not to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Those who belong to this doubtful category are treated as follows:
a) Those who have facial identities in multiples are cross-checked further by ascertaining their fingerprints. Where fingerprints are not identical or not more than two registrants even if their fingers are identical, we give them the benefit of the doubt especially when only one exam was taken.
b) We canceled those with multiple registration and who wrote two or more examination with identical finger prints.
We therefore caution that this is the last time that double registration will be given any consideration. Henceforth, anyone who registers more than once will be taken to have engaged in examination malpractice and be treated as such. The bloated figure of registrants distorts data and derail proper planning.
In the 2019 UTME, we were able to identify a large number of impersonators who have been writing UTME for candidates. Most of the tutorial masters specialize in recruiting such professional writers for the candidates. They do so by using the names directly or variants of the name or by multiple registrations. An example is Anambra State where two centres registered a large number of impersonating candidates. (PICTURE) In such cases, the results of the candidates have been cancelled and the CBT centres delisted. We have also tracked the registration centres and the computers used. In cases where we were able to ascertain the culpability of the centres, we delisted them. Where we have doubts, our principle is that we would rather allow 10 criminals to go scot-free than allow an innocent person to be unjustly punished.
Another dimension of impersonation is a futile attempt of defeating the biometric capturing of ten fingers that was introduced in 2017. The fraudsters thought they could beat the system through ‘contributed fingers’ where two or more persons would use their fingers to register for candidates thinking that any of them would be able to write for such candidates if the system allowed it. Two examples of this case are in the Aminu Saleh College of Education, Azare, where someone’s finger(s) was discovered in 42 person’s registration and Bauchi State University, Gadau, where one person’s is traced to the registration of 64 candidates with a view to allowing any of the finger-contributing impersonators to access the examination hall.(PICTURES)
The Board went to the extent of interacting with the principal officers of the institution in Azare. We must appreciate the Council Chairman and Provost of the College whose cooperation led to the confession of the culprit that he contributed the fingers in good faith. The confession, as bad as it was, is good for the Board as without it, there would have been doubts in the accuracy of the technology deployed to determine and detect the infraction.
Another example was in Borno State where in Nassara Computer Academy Maiduguri 233 candidates had one particular finger included in each of their biometric registration. We have made representative arrests and we must thank the Inspector-General of Police and the Commandant-General of the NSCDC for their wonderful cooperation. The IGP actually set up a Special Task Force of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) which assisted tremendously in tracking the offenders.
Initially, people thought that what happened in the US in the timely conviction of those involved in the admission scandal could not happen in Nigeria. However, it is gratifying that today, some convictions have been made not only because of the infallibility of the evidence presented but also the uprightness of the judges in dispensing justice without delay. It is only an ardent pessimist that would doubt the advent of the positive change in the Nigerian judiciary.
3. Deliberate Disruption of the Examination Process
Many candidates had been tutored by fraudsters to disconnect cables and power sources with a view to claiming disruption and in the process allow mercenaries to execute their pre-planned agenda. This is not to claim that there were no genuine cases of technical hitches in which cases prompt action of rescheduling was taken There was a case of a purported fire outbreak in an Abuja centre which did not burn a single ceiling made of cardboard. While scrutinising the place, there was a so-called professor who presented himself as a JAMB official just to gain entrance to the examination centre to do a hatchet job because his daughter was writing the examination in the centre.
Some candidates had been caught who confessed that they were told by their mothers not to log in in the examination hall. Candidates with Registration Numbers 95040702IC and 95038921JA at Heritage and Infinity Centre in Abia belong to this category, one of whom when notified of her inactivity 30 minutes into the examination claimed she was still praying. Where such candidates were forced to log in, it was realised that mercenaries had logged in with the candidates’ number thereby loging out the original candidates. They confessed that their mothers asked them to simply do nothing in the examination in order to allow the proxy to log in and use their registration number. Such proxies wrote for as many as three candidates in one session and contrived some hitches to further gain more time for more clients. UTME
4. Manipulation of Biometrics
Since the beginning of CBT in JAMB, biometrics has been incorporated into the registration process. There was an “exemption mode” for anyone who could not be biometrically verified to be manually verified. At the 2018 UTME, over 3,000 candidates were said to have biometric issues. JAMB then introduced a new dimension to the process which requires a candidate after registration to print the registration slip using his/her thumb. This shows that a candidate with biometric issues would not have been able to print his/her registration slip.
In order to safeguard the integrity of the process, JAMB introduced the double screen such that data being entered are seen and certified by the candidate.
In the 2019 exercise, those who had medical or other peculiar problems regarding their finger prints were sponsored by JAMB to its headquarters for both the registration and the examination. Thereafter, exemption mode was cancelled and candidates were to be biometrically verified before gaining access to the examination halls. Most of the problems that arose in this process were self-inflicted by candidates who registered at unauthorised centres as evident in cases at Abeokuta and Osogbo where grand technology infrastructure was mounted to register in distance places..
Equally, a number of infractions were traced to the elite schools whose proprietors paid a lot of money to lure CBT centre owners to group registration and in the process mix up the data of candidates. Such schools lured the CBT owners to shift routers and in the process corrupt data thereby creating problems for the candidates.
5. Collusion of Some Private CBT Centres with Parents
Unknown to many, that the robust of question bank of JAMB makes it possible for the deployment of as many sets of questions as the number of sessions in a year. They devised means of recording deployed live questions with a wrong notion that such would be helpful to later writers of the year’s UTME . Some private CBT centres engage in examination malpractice by taking screen shots of the questions and selling them to tutorial centres. At Risk Global Centre, Anthony, Lagos, for example, the owner (Mr Godswill Okpai) and two of his sons (David Emeka Okpai and Ebere Obinna Okpai) as well as the local Technical Officer of the centre took screen shots of questions from the computers in his centre and sold same to the tutorial centres for N5000 per screen shot. One notorious buyer-Embassy-who owns a tutorial centre is currently on the run. These tutors sale these questions to gullible parents/candidates without knowing that we don’t repeat questions. (Video)
One saving grace was the quality of supervision provided by the Board. For example, a PhD holder who had headed a federal parastatal for eight years was the supervisor in Palmgrove who was not only unbuyable but also had all the wherewithal to effectively supervise and detect the illicit transactions.
6. A syndicate of Close centres
A syndicate of centres conniving to perpetrate malpractice have also been discovered. They take undue advantage of the fact that the Board does want candidates to transverse long distance to sit the examination which made the Board to group close centres together as an examination town. These allows as few as two, three or four to be in an examination town. This lofty idea has been abused by collusion of all the centres in a town to collectively perpetrate examination malpractice. Oxford Computer Institute and Young Stars in Imo State connived with parents and candidates to organise examination syndicates at these two centres. Similar arrangement played out in the creation of an examination town made up of Bauchi State University, Gadau and Aminu Saleh College of Education, Azare. We have identified the candidates involved and their results are withheld.
while not being aware that JAMB was monitoring, the two centres in Akokwe in Ideato examination town paid N1,760,000.00 to compromise the staff on duty. The staff concern are being investigated to determine their culpability.
There were cases of staff who accepted the offer of free accommodation from CBT owners, We are investigating and at the end of the day we would also not spare our staff if found culpable. At Heritage and Infinity as well as Okwyzil Computer Institute Comprehensive Secondary School in Abia, the extent of malpractice perpetrated had made JAMB to cancel all the examinations taken at the centres, apologize to the candidates and re-schedule their examinations. Also in this category is Clems Business System Ltd, Umuahia, Abia State.
The CBT centres of Ekiti State College of Education, Ikere, and St Silas Anglican Secondary School, Omuo-Ekiti, were also involved in collusion. In the case of the Ekiti College of Education, the College apprehended the culprit (Its staff), handed him over to the police and ensured that appropriate disciplinary measures were taken while the police continue with the prosecution. Given these impressive steps, the College CBT Centre was restored. Meanwhile, among the centres to be suspended pending further investigation is the CBT Centre of the College of Education, centre of Excellence and Information Technology (CEIT), Agbor, Delta State.
7.Extortion of Candidates
Under the pretext that centres are collecting the 700 registration service charge from candidates or paying for reading text, or the mock examination at the centres, candidates are being massively extorted at centres, some even use military uniform as gatemen to collect toll.
A total of 116 Centres have been delisted or suspended. Out of this number, 18 have been sanctioned by the to the Governing Board of JAMB with suspension for between one and three year for registration related misconduct..
PAYMENT TO CENTRES Used for 2019 UTME
All centres without blemish have since been paid, including unfortunately those who were later found to have committed one infraction or the other. It is our policy never to put our partners who had contributed to our success in the pains of waiting for what we consider as their legitimate rights just because we do not want some criminal centres to be unduly rewarded .
RELEASE OF 2019 UTME RESULTS
For the 2019 UTME, 1,886,508 candidates registered including those who registered at the foreign centres. Out of this number, which excludes the Direct Entry candidates, 59,667 were absent. A total of 1,826,839 sat the UTME. Today, we are releasing the results of 1,792,719 candidates. Some 34,120 results are being withheld including the results of 15,145 candidates being further clarified as identical twins and siblings.
How To Check Results
Candidates are advised to use the phone numbers they used to register to text RESULT to 55019. There is no need to approach any CBT Centre or cyber café to check results. Those who were ABSENT, got their Registration CANCELLED or have their results WITHHELD will be told. The following are the responses to be expected:
1. If a candidate uses a phone number that was not used to register, a message will be sent to him thus: “This phone number was not used for registration.”
2. A candidate with a result will receive the message: “Dear Mr/Miss X, your result is as follows…(and the details will be provided)”.
3. If a result is withheld, a “Result Withheld” message will be sent to the candidate.
4. If a candidate belongs to the category being given the benefit of the doubt, the message to the person will be: “Result withheld pending the upload of clarifications/document required from you.”
5. If a candidate was absent, s/he would get “CANDIDATE ABSENT” as feedback
6. A candidate that was ABSENT WITH REGISTRATION NUMBER also CANCELLED will be so informed.
7. “Invalid Entrance into the Exam Hall” will be sent to a candidate who gained unauthorized access to the examination hall.
For the first three days or between now and Monday, the only means of checking the results of candidates would be through the Short Code (55019). This is to ensure that fraudsters who would want to exploit candidates by reproducing messages and sending such messages to them are frustrated. It is also to prevent those whose results are withheld from wasting their money at cyber cafes or creating unnecessary crowd at CBT centres.
The Board has decided to send both photo and biometric details of candidates to Institutions. We have also put bar codes on the result slips that candidates will be printing. The essence of this is that once a candidate approaches an institution for Post-UTME screening, the institution will use the bar code scanner to authenticate the candidate. However, if a candidate brings a manipulated slip as the case may be at times, the Institution can type in the registration number to ensure that it is not a fake slip that is presented.
Candidates who presently enjoy undue favour of benefit of the doubt will then be exposed and more results can then be cancelled for post examination fraud- attempt.
Other Salient Issues
1. Accreditation ends on the 30th of December of the preceding year of UTME. This shall be the deadline for centre accreditation.
2. All existing centres must go for revalidation one month after the examination. Any centre that is not confirmed as suitable one month after the examination shall have its access code withdrawn.
3. Examination towns shall be expanded in order to guard against collusion.
4. No CBT centre shall be approved in secondary school except it belongs to the institution and the administrator is the principal.
5. After registration, candidates must ensure that they retrieve their registration template from the CBT centre.
6. Despite the high possibility of blackmailers who may want to misconstrue the idea and misrepresent the Board to the Federal Government, there is the need to ban cash transactions at CBT centres to eliminate illicit transaction and extortions. starting from next year, UTME candidates will make all payments associated with registration, purchase of e-pins, reading text and conduct of mock examinations at one point from which the reading text, normal CBT registration, service charges and mock(optional) shall be remitted to the respective states through the committee of CEE, Technical Advisor, JAMB state Coordinator and a representative of the CBT centre owners in the state shall superintend over the weekly disbursement on the basis of number of registration. It should be noted that the present total expense per candidate is N3,500 (previously 5000) for application document ;700 to CBT centres as registration service charge, 500 for the compulsory reading text and 700 for the mock totaling N5,400 and N4,700 for DE and candidates not taking mock. In the next exercise the candidate desiring to write mock would pay 3500 for application document + 500 reading text + 700 centre registration service charge +350 for mock which has been slashed down by the Board to complement the efforts of the federal government on its reduction of the cost of the application document.
7. Any centre found to be extorting money from candidates under any guise shall then be severely duly sanctioned.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) conducted its Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examinations (UTME) between April 11 and 17, 2019 across the 36 states of the Federation and Abuja. It was a painstaking exercise that was instructive and eye-opening in many ramifications despite the general success story recorded. Given the promptness with which the 2017 and 2018 results were released, many candidates were agitated about the delay though we had assured them that as the Yoruba say, a female is not named Kumolu for no reason.
Having explained the reasons behind the deliberate delay as part of doing rights things and doing things right, it is hoped that every Nigerian will change accordingly in line with the current government mantra by also doing right things and doing things right at all times. At the level of JAMB, our resolve is to ensure that the admission process, right from the UTME registration is open, free, transparent and malpractice-free.
We want to once again thank the Honorable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, the Chairman and members of the Board, the security agencies, the management and staff of JAMB and indeed all Nigerians who contributed one way or the other to the success of the 2019 UTME. We can only hope that more commitment will be given by all stakeholders to ensure that the future exams will be better in all ramifications.
Professor Ishaq O. Oloyede