The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the University of Calabar, John Edor, has advised the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination (JAMB) against subjecting candidates of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to public ridicule without conducting a proper investigation. Edor emphasized that a media trial is not the appropriate course of action.
The call for caution follows previous incidents where candidates were accused of altering their UTME results. In 2019, JAMB accused an 18-year-old student named Kingsley Unekwe of manipulating his UTME result from 201 to 269 in order to meet the cut-off points for studying Medicine at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Unekwe’s result was subsequently withdrawn, making him the fifth person whose UTME scores were canceled.
Similarly, in 2021, a 19-year-old UTME candidate was arrested by the police for allegedly tampering with his result. The JAMB spokesman, Fabian Benjamin, stated that the arrest was made after the candidate claimed to have scored 380, but upon investigation, his score consistently appeared as 265. These incidents highlight the issue of result manipulation in the UTME.
In 2023, another incident emerged involving Miss Mmesoma Ejikeme, a 16-year-old student of Anglican Girls secondary school in Nnewi, Anambra State. She was accused of manipulating her UTME result. Former Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili called for an independent forensic investigation into the matter, emphasizing the need to uncover the truth. Ezekwesili reached out to the Registrar of JAMB, expressing the necessity of a thorough investigation.
John Edor, the ASUU Chairman at the University of Calabar, echoed the call for a proper investigation. He emphasized that relevant agencies should be allowed to conduct a thorough inquiry into the matter. Edor noted that a comprehensive investigation would reveal whether Mmesoma hacked into the JAMB portal or if there were other factors contributing to the discrepancy in her results.
Edor criticized JAMB for initiating a public discussion without conducting a thorough investigation, resulting in a social media trial. He stressed the importance of due diligence, compliance with due process, and the need for JAMB software to withstand external intrusion. Edor called for the involvement of appropriate authorities and agencies to determine the cause of the variation in Mmesoma’s result, including the possibility of technical glitches in the JAMB software.
In conclusion, the ongoing issue of result manipulation in the UTME highlights the need for proper investigations before subjecting candidates to public ridicule. The involvement of relevant agencies and the careful examination of technological systems are crucial to ascertain the truth in such cases. It is essential to maintain fairness, integrity, and transparency in the evaluation of examination results to ensure that deserving candidates are not wrongly accused or stigmatized.