Youths seeking admission into different tertiary institutions in Nigeria, together with their parents, trooped out in their hundreds on Tuesday to register their disapproval over the alleged ill treatment dished out to them by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in the 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
In anger, some of the students who took their demonstration to the Lagos State Governor’s Office in Alausa, Ikeja, and the state Assembly complex, began to hurl stones at the security gate and the personnel guarding the Assembly gate for failure of being attended to by any of the lawmakers as they sang solidarity songs to register their displeasure with the JAMB authority and the Assembly.
The demonstrators called for the immediate removal of Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, Director of JAMB, and also made a demand for the exams to be nullified, describing it as a “big sham” as it was said to be full of inconsistencies.
Some of the candidates claimed that the board purposely reduced their scores while others said that it awarded marks to many candidates based on random choice.
One of the affected candidates, Okelola Samson, said that he prepared very well for the examination, but that JAMB Agave him 170 marks which was a direct opposite of what he expected. According to him,
“For the past two weeks, JAMB has been sending results that was not in tandem with our expectations. We expected good result but we were disappointed at the management with the series of marks they were sending to our phones. I am sure 170 was not my score and I am using this opportunity to call on the House of Assembly and the Federal Government to investigate this hiccup with JAMB.”
Adebisi Shonupe, another candidate, also shared her experience, saying that all the efforts put into preparations for the exam proved to be a waste with the action of JAMB. According to her,
“Dibu is marking down candidates to pave way for private universities and also deduct the scores of the candidates at his own discretion. We also received some of our results before we write the exam.”
Adebisi further said that JAMB failed to properly communicate the change of exam venues and as a result, over 10,000 candidates missed writing the exam.
“He is also selling change of institution and change of course e-card, while the exam was still in progress.”
Another person who sat for the exam, Maryam Animashaun, expressed disappointment with the conduct of the examination, claiming she received three different results from JAMB.
“I am confused. I do not know what to do now. The first alert I received on the telephone from the board with regard to the examination showed that I scored 218. The second alert read 186, while the third one read 286. The surprising thing now is that I cannot print any of the results. On the website, the board claimed that I did not sit for the examination. Meanwhile, I sat for English, Government, Economics and Literature-in-English.”
One of the parents, Mr. Bunmi Elujula, described the exam as a fraud and urged the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to investigate the complaints of the students as a matter that demands immediate attention. The parent also said that aside randomly sharing marks, many of the candidates had issues with their computers. He said,
“Many candidates were allocated between 40 and 60 additional marks. What are the criteria for this arbitrariness? The strange thing is that JAMB started the CBT (Computer Based Test) two years ago, why is this year’s exam a big flop? I have not seen candidates and parents complain this way about the exam in the past. I plead with the authorities to look into their grievances.”
The demonstrators who were led by a group of concerned parents and education stakeholders showed placards with inscriptions some of which read:
‘My system went off and nothing was done. Kilode! You all have children’,
‘All we are saying give us our mark’,
‘Dibu must go; the only stumbling block in education progress’,
‘The Joint Admission and Manipulation Board, give us our real results’.
However, The examination body in a statement issued on Monday night, March 14, in Abuja by JAMB’s head of media, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, entitled: “Protest By Education Consultants,” appealed for calm and understanding from the candidates.
The statement partly read,
“The board had approved centres provided by these individuals to be used for the 2016 exercise. Unfortunately, it could not approve those centres lacking in all the indices needed for a successful CBT. This was discussed with these proprietors and they showed understanding as they witnessed the difficulties the Board went through to run even a session in their centres.”
“It’s surprising that these same proprietors turned around to organise candidates to protest against our activities. We are not perfect as an organisation, but we are working hard to ensure that Nigerian education is better than it is. We have taken the risk to do the unthinkable so as to change the paradigm.
“We will continue to call on Nigerians to give us the benefits of doubt and with their collective support; we will give them one of the best CBT globally. It is no news that the worst CBT is far better than the best Paper and Pencil Test. At least, the era of candidates pouring acid on JAMB officials, bolting with question papers into the bush and all unthinkable embarrassing acts are gone.”
It urged all candidates with genuine complaints to visit any of the JAMB offices nationwide.