By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate on Tuesday at plenary asked the Federal Ministry of Education,Joint Matriculation Board (JAMB) and National Identity Management Commission(NIMC ) to suspend the compulsory use of National Identity Number (NIN) as Criterion for writing the forthcoming Joint Matriculation Examination.
It mandated the Education Minister and the authorities of JAMB and NIMC to review the implementation of the policy with a view to extend the JAMB registration deadline or suspending this requirement until there is a seamless and well organized process of obtaining the National Identity Number(NIN).
The upper chamber also urged the Federal ministry of Education and NIMC to introduce a streamline simple and centralized NIN registration process where students would be able to obtain their NIN in their various school premises.
These resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion on Urgent National importance sponsored by Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah( YPP-Anambra South) tagged” The untold hardship caused by introduction of the National Identification Number(NIN) as a compulsory requirement for JAMB registration.”
Coming under Order 42 and 52 of Senate Standing Rules, Sen. Ubah recall the widespread hardship young, promising and cerebral Nigerians are currently facing as a result of the decision of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) to include the National identification Number (NIN) as d precondition for registration of UTME candidates in 2021.
According him,”This action is an inconsiderate and premature decision that has further complicated the already rigorous process of both registering for JAMB examination and procuring the NIN.
“It is pertinent to call the attention of this chamber to the fact that JAMB initially attempted to start the implementation of this policy in 2020 but had to postpone it owing to technical problems and irreguiarities bedeviling the process of Obtaining NIN from the National Identity Management Company (NIMC).”
The lawmaker further observed thus,”From all indications, these technical hitches are yet to be addressed; the long queues at NIMC centers are a testimony to the foct that a well organized process is yet to be put in place to eose the stressful process of registration.
“Available statistics indicate that in 2020, more than two million candidates tegistered for JAMB examination. Presenily, the introduction of NIN threatens to significantly lower the number of registe’ed candidates in 2021 because majority of these candidates are just attaining the age when they can obtain the NIN, This is a brazen infringement on the fight to education of young Nigerians wha may not be able to meet the deadline 10 obtain their NIN and register for JAMB.
“Mr. President, you would agree with me on the fact this idea, even though innovative in nature should be suspended until the conditions for obtaining NIN Improves tremendously. The board (JAMB) already has enough logistical and technical problems to tackle.”
Ubah noted the situation would not only bring complications but counter productive and serve as a hindrance to Young Nigerians desirous of getting into higher institutions to further their education.
Seconding the motion, Senator Uche Lillian Ekwunife( PDP-Anambra Central ),said “Mr president remember that the whole of last year was taken by Covid 19 and it made it impossible for many students to have access to NIN, telling our students now that they can not register for West African Examination Council(WAEC) because they don’t have NIN is actually very insensitive on the part of the examination bodies.
“I want to state very clearly that there has not been much awareness’ no public enlightenment on the importance on National Identification Number.
“The awareness has not been taken to the grassroots, the enlightenment has not been taken to schools and even to tertiary institutions.”
She noted many schools and students have not know what NIN stands for and the need to have the NIN number, adding “They don’t know that NIN is a requirement for them to participate in NECO examination or GCE.
“I think the Senate as a responsible parliament and we as representatives of people should not allow our people to be marginalized.”