By Felix Khanoba
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says it would soon fix exam date for registered candidates that were unable to sit for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of genuine challenges with biometric verification.
Registrar of JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, who disclosed this on Friday in Abuja, said the number of candidates that had challenges with verification dropped from 74,000 in 2019 to 4,900 this year.
While saying the 4,900 was still high and questionable, the JAMB boss said the reduction was recorded as a result of innovative measures introduced by the Board that allow officials to take a snapshot of candidates that could not be biometrically verified and compare it with pictures in JAMB’s database.
Prof. Oloyede, however, expressed concern on the antics of some candidates that try to circumvent watertight measures put in place to prevent impersonation, citing an instance where a woman’s name appeared on the registration list and a man would attempt to sit on her behalf.
He said: “When some candidates complain that they have registered for our examination but could not be verified on the day of examination, many do not grasp the full import of their claims as such candidates, who are more often than not impersonators, expected to be allowed to enter the examination hall without undergoing necessary searches.
“However, in the last UTME, the Board introduced the taking of a snapshot of the candidate who claims they could not be verified and comparing the new picture with the one in our database.
“As a result of this innovation, only very few cases of impersonation were recorded compared with the number in the past,” he said.
Speaking on the arrest of a Police Constable, Etim Israel, from Akwa Ibom State Command, for hiring a teacher to write this year’s UTME on his behalf, Prof. Oloyede said the policeman was one of the 657 candidates that requested for change of picture in their registration profiles, adding that he was arrested where he could not give convincing reasons, before he later confessed to engaging a mercenary in the exam.
Israel, who told newsmen he applied to study Fishery at the Akwa Ibom State University in the 2020 UTME, said he paid N30,000 to engage the services of the mercenary (a teacher), one Emmanuel- now on the run, to sit for the exam as he was away on special duties.
The policeman said after scoring over 240 in the exam and decided to commence the admission’s process, he was told that he won’t sail through because of the disparity in the picture, which prompted him to visit JAMB’s office for correction, a move that landed him in trouble.