Nailed with a stroke of pen
June 14, 2017 would have passed for any other day. It was a Wednesday and the conference room was packed full. Seated were Professor Is-haq Oloyede, Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), external examiners and other stakeholders who had met in Abuja to review the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
It appeared to be a regular press briefing but when Professor Oloyede began with a slight frown on his brow, it was obvious that a major bombshell would be dropped on the house.
The JAMB boss told the astounded house that 72 operators were found guilty from a pack of 600 CBT centres that were involved in the conduct of the 2017 examinations. Twenty four of them were suspended, while the remaining 48 were delisted.
“The (24 CBT) centres will not participate in the 2018 UTME, but they can be reconsidered for 2019 and above.
“The delisting of 48 centres from participating in the board’s examination in future is as a result of serious technical deficiencies, extortion, organised examination malpractices and other damaging infractions,” he said, among others.
There were more surprises to come. When RIPPLES NIGERIA undertook a review of the data detailing the distribution of the defaulting operators, it came to light that the major offenders were located in the southern part of the country. These were Abia (13), Rivers (10), Anambra (9), Akwa Ibom (6), Imo (6), Delta (6).
Mind boggling are findings that the six South-East and South-South States produced 50 of the 72 centres delisted by JAMB. This sad figure represents nearly 70% of the discredited population.
Many were shocked by these findings but it was this development that set the tone for a week-long foray into two key states, namely Rivers and Abia, in search of erstwhile JAMB partners whose multi-million Naira investments now lay in ruins from alleged sharp practices.
Guilty! No such thing as small ‘incident’
CBT operators have queried JAMB’s punitive actions which the board claims were hinged on a policy of zero tolerance to examination malpractice.
They claim ignorance of what could have compelled JAMB to delist them. Ripples Nigeria investigations, however, dug up interesting findings. CBT operators admit that there were little ‘incidents’ on the days of the exams, but argue that such could not have been enough to warrant JAMB’s action.
Mr Nicholas Okoye, Director, Golden Foundation International School, Umuebeke, Aba, Abia State, said the only challenge he suffered at his CBT centre was that he had to rent a generator on the day of the exam after robbers allegedly invaded his school and carted away his 40 KVA generator.
“I got a call from my security guard at the school at about 4:00 am on the day of the exam telling me that the generator installed at my school had been stolen by robbers who came calling.
“There and then, I started making calls to ensure that I rented another…The generating set was brought before 7:26 am to ensure that the exams were held at my CBT centre. That was the only challenge we encountered and we were able to deal with it decisively by getting a replacement so the 800 students who were posted to my CBT centre could write their exams,” he claimed.
On his part, owner of Edtrix Frontiers, located in Igbo-Etchie in Etche Local Government Area, Rivers State, who refused to give his name, but who our correspondent discovered was referred to as Eddie in the neighborhood, stated that on the first day of the exams, a group of youths in the Igbo-Etchie area stormed his school, demanding for ‘marching ground’, a parlance used for money paid to street urchins for settlement. They vowed to disrupt the exams if they are not paid in cash.
According to him, when he refused to pay them, and stood his ground, they invaded the centre, asking the students to pay a fee of N5000 each if they want to write the test at the centre.
Eddie said at this point, “I called in the police, by reaching out to the DPO of the area to intimate him of the happenings. He sent in some of his men, who arrested about five of the boys, while the others ran away”.
He added that “the police kept the boys with them for the duration of the exam and were at the centre throughout to forestall any more trouble”.
For this, he is at a loss, as to what could have motivated JAMB to delist his centre.
On the part of Immaculate College, Obeama, Oyigbo Local Government Area, Rivers State, Darlington Igbokwe a staff of the school, admitted that there was an altercation between the technician assigned to the school by JAMB, and the school’s technician on the first day of the exam, which he said was amicably resolved.
According to him, unfortunately, there were technical issues, which he said was mainly a fault of JAMB, as a link could not be achieved on the first day with the JAMB servers. As a result of this, he said, the first set of students who took the exam, had to do a rewrite.
The proprietor of Blessed Child International School, Etuche-Oyigbo, Oyigbo Local Government Area, Rivers State who maintains that there were no incidents at her centre, revealed that some results from her centre were cancelled, and the students were moved to two other centres to do a rewrite.
According to her, “I knew something was wrong when some of the students who did the exam in my school called to say their results had been removed from the JAMB website. I don’t understand what happened”.
At Tessy International School, Rumuagholu Road, Port Harcourt, a staff who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that there was an issue with the generating set, as it packed up on the first day of the exam. He stated that it was, however, quickly fixed, and worked smoothly for the remaining four days the exams held.
Egbuchilam Kingsley, Centre Administrator of Citizens International College situated within the premises of Kingdom Citizens Ministries International, Aba, said “It came to us as surprise, when we heard over the news that our centre has been delisted. Even though two persons were caught at our centre trying to impersonate during the exams and were handed over to NSCDC officers who were stationed at the centre, we do not think it is enough to delist our centre, except there was widespread malpractice which was not the case.”
It is evident, from responses, that the sanctioned CBT operators may have provided the ammunition with which they were shot by JAMB.
The more things change, the more they remain the same!
The coming of CBT centres were designed to check untoward examination issues. Complaints persist. In fact, many of them are viewed as centres where students can make good results at a price.
There are allegations of how some schools and centres aid or abet misconduct during exams for a fee, which is either prepaid, or ‘pay as you go’, in which case, the examiners allegedly collect money from the students on the spot, and turn the other way while they (students) cheat.
One CBT operator, distancing his unit from any crime, unwittingly confirmed to Ripples Nigeria that “We were even warned by the Technical Officer of JAMB that we should not collect money from the students during the exams which we adhered to because they learnt that some centres in Aba charge students the sum of N1000 to write exams”.
Some have even sought soft landing for breaches witnessed at their locations. Ihenwe Livinus, the Centre Administrator, Akassi Computer Institute, Aba, a centre which was also delisted for misconduct and gross technical deficiencies said, “If students cheat during exams, then that student should be penalised instead of penalising the centre because the centres have no relation with the students writing the exams. It is the job of the supervisors to fish out such students and make recommendations when such issues are discovered”.
There are strong indications that desperation by students and greed on the part of some operators have continued to fuel the market for purchase of good JAMB results.
‘JAMB lives in denial’
The tale of 18-year-old Isreal Akpemu who wrote the UTME at Adventist College in Aba is, perhaps, a classic story of the inefficiencies that still rule the examinations. He said on the day of the CBT test, there was internet failure during the exam as the network from JAMB tripped off.
The lad who wants to study Medicine said he was unable to attempt questions from the four subjects (Biology, Chemistry, English and Physics) he put in for due to the challenge.
“I was however able to access network on my system after I sought assistance from a supervisor but that was 30 minutes later which was deducted from the 120 minutes time given to us to answer questions from the usual four subjects each student is meant to attempt.
“The results were released about a week after and I scored 165, which I thought was a disappointing score notwithstanding the delay during the exam, but I was shocked that my result and others were seized after the centre where we wrote the exam was delisted”.
A number of students said they sent protest letters to JAMB to look into their plight, and redress the issues involved, to enable them get their results.
Among those who spoke to Ripples Nigeria include, Egwu Promise Oko, Ogadinma Precious, Wisdom Chinagorom Obioma and Okafor Jennifer.
Egwu who gave her JAMB registration number-76114759CI , and examination number as C01501 said she and others were unable to login to the portal to do the exam, and that they were re-directed to the same Question 1 after trying to click to answer the next question, and this went on for several times.
According to her, “We complained to our supervisor who told us to wait, saying it might be a network error from the JAMB office. We waited and time was running out, we tried again to login and the system was telling us “Session Still Active”.
“We tried but to no avail and at the end of the exam some candidates were still unable to answer any question and were unable to submit questions answered”.
Precious, who gave her JAMB Registration Number: 7669238AC said that she was directed by the JAMB officials that were present at her centre to make an official complaint over her inability to connect to the JAMB portal. According to her, she was physically present at the venue, but was unable to participate in the exercise.
Wisdom also claimed that “due to some technical faults in the system and server I could not do much when my computer system shut down and the other candidates and I were asked to leave the hall and go home”.
Jennifer lamented, that the exam which was scheduled to kick off by 1:30 pm did not start until a few minutes to 11 pm. She claimed that the “impatient supervisor shut down the systems after 10 minutes”.
Ripples Nigeria investigation shows that imperfections in the system have continued to cut short the ambition of candidates and deny them opportunities to enrol into universities.
‘We don’t know what we have done wrong’
Operators of CBT centres would admit no wrong. Rather, they bemoan JAMB’s mode of operation. Over two months after the delisting, they claim that they were yet to be formally informed about the JAMB’s decision, saying that they only learnt of the news in the media.
“As I speak with you, I have not received any written letter by JAMB stating that my CBT centre has been delisted and it’s the same case with other affected centres. I consider that as an administrative anomaly especially with the fact that none of the affected centres were given the opportunity to defend themselves over the allegations levelled against them which got them delisted,” Mr Okwuosa Anselem Chikezie, proprietor of JP Flinct International School, Aba said.
Among others, the proprietors of Blessed Child International School, as well as a staff of Tessy International School, all echo the same sentiments, and wonder why the examination board has refused to formally inform them of their supposed offences.
Mr Nicholas Okoye, Director Golden Foundation International School, Umuebeke, Aba, Abia State said he was shocked and miffed when he heard over the radio that his centre was among those delisted by JAMB.
“I am surprised and at the same time miffed that my centre was delisted for misconduct and gross technical deficiencies because we met the requirements set by JAMB which states that you must have at least 250 computers, a soundproof generator, a hall that can accommodate 250 students and install a CCTV camera at the centre. These are items we all made provisions for and before our centre was approved, there were three unannounced inspections by JAMB officials”.
Each one of the supposed offenders argues that it was very unfair for the exam board to almost unilaterally take the position of the judge, jury and executioner, by reviewing whatever offence was allegedly committed, and passing judgement, without so much as a chance of fair hearing, or even inform them formally.
According to a staff of Greenfield CBT Centre, Port Harcourt, who simply identified himself as George, “JAMB seems to have their own agenda. And it is a big blow to us. So much was put into making this place meet their requirements. They did not even give us a chance to defend whatever they accused us of”.
Samuel Arinze, Center Technician/Manager of Giant Immaculate Schools, Aba, said he was at a loss when he heard over the radio that his centre was among the 13 CBT centres delisted by JAMB in Abia State, claiming that there was nothing like technical deficiency or misconduct recorded at his centre during the exam.
He added, “It was even more disheartening when the list was published in the dailies with JAMB not deeming it fit to at least write the CBT centres officially explaining why the centres were delisted and also did not give the affected schools the opportunity to defend themselves”
If JAMB’s tough stance is anything to go by, then the fate of the delisted centres may be completely sealed with future partnerships ruled out.
Living on ruins of mega investments
Getting accredited by JAMB as a CBT centre is no ‘child’s play.’ According to some of the centre operators, it takes a lot, especially financially. Sometimes, whole new structures and facilities have to be put in place to accommodate the computer units, and other things.
Considering the requirements demanded by JAMB to set up a CBT centre, it will take a huge investment to put one in place. The following are basic requirements for a centre to be accredited by JAMB:
*A 40KVA generating set
*Brand new CCTV installed at the centre
*At least 3 air conditioners
*At least 20 backup computers
*Chairs and tables for 250 students
It is estimated that a whopping sum of N22.5 million would be needed to set up a modest CBT Centre, and this does not include the cost of property or rentals. It can only be imagined the fate of the 72 centres now counting their losses after they were de-listed by the examination body
For Edtrix Frontiers, the CBT centre had to be put up from scratch in the ‘middle of nowhere’. The centre is located in an isolated area. The property on which the building is located is surrounded by bushes with a sandy road leading up to it.
The owner stated that after initial attempts to get the centre registered as a CBT centre, it was eventually approved in 2016. He said the centre had so far conducted CBT exams for two years.
He noted that although his centre was blacklisted, he was, however, paid for the number of students that took the test at his venue, but that unfortunately, some students’ results were not released.
For Chikezie, the mode of operation of the university matriculation exam body is very tasking. “When you are accredited by an exam body like WAEC, your centre is inspected every five years. But with JAMB they inspect two to three times every year unannounced.
“Even with the cost effective requirements set by JAMB, I was still able to provide the necessary requirements for my centre to be accredited. But it came to me as a surprise that my centre was delisted for misconduct and gross technical deficiencies by JAMB”.
Fast Five Computers, in Oyigbo Local Government Area started out as a cyber café and business centre before delving into the business of CBT.
According to Okiki Akuma, a staff of the centre which coincidentally is owned by the traditional ruler of the area, HRH Eze Mike Nwaji, the Eze Oha Oyigbo Kingdom, an initial hall dedicated for use in the CBT exams, which had been previously used, was later adjudged to be too small by the state JAMB coordinator, Mrs Effa-Nyaim.
Another staff who refused to be named stated that the state coordinator had told the monarch that asides an initial hall that was being used for the exam, another hall had to be provided to meet the Board’s requirements, and promised to get both centres approved if he was able to meet up by the time the next exam was to kick off.
It was gathered that the monarch quickly set about the construction of a story building to serve as a second hall, equipped with the necessary furnishings, air conditioners and computers, which was also approved.
She said that it came as a rude shock to them all when the new centre was delisted after the exam.
‘This is bad for business’
Okoye lamented that ever since JAMB blacklisted his centre, aspersions have been cast upon his business by parents of students in his school and the development is bad for business especially with the fact that the meagre sum of N600,000 (six hundred thousand ) accruing to his centre for successfully staging the exam has been withheld by JAMB.
“The fact that my school was delisted by JAMB is very bad for business and as an entity, we have an image to protect, the reason I wrote to JAMB to get my centre approved was to ensure my school is seen as a serious place of learning and not to engage in exam malpractice.”
Arinze of Giant Immaculate Schools, Dikenafai Road, Aba, said his CBT centre provided everything necessary to ensure that the examinations went ahead without any hic-up by providing more than the 250 computers required including installing a CCTV at the centre, providing a soundproof generator and ensuring that the hall to be used for the examination was fully air conditioned.
Coincidentally, Giant Immaculate Schools, Aba, and Immaculate High School, Obeama, Oyigbo, are owned by the same person. Both schools which were used for the CBT exam came under JAMB’s hammer.
Igbokwe, a staff of the Rivers state arm of the school, told Ripples Nigeria that the owners of the business spent over N10 million naira to ensure that the school met the conditions set by JAMB.
While taking our correspondent on a short tour of their facilities, he pointed out the a set of giant sound-proof generators, and the hall accommodating the computers used for the exam.
“We had only one generator before, but we bought another one to act as a backup in case the old one developed issues. The JAMB CBT is not a money spinning venture, they paid N600 per student, which of course you know cannot even cover the cost of buying the computers, not to talk of building a hall, or providing the generators.
“Even the other promises made by JAMB which we thought will help us raise more money to cover the cost, they have not fulfilled. They also need to increase the money paid for the exam to enable the centres meet up. The money is too small”, he argued.
Arinze also offered, “Being delisted is bad for business especially with the amount sunk into buying the requirements needed to get the centre accredited”.
The proprietor of Blessed Child, Port Harcourt lamented that her school which was held in high esteem in the area, and her “well known reputation as a person of high integrity”, has been tarnished by the JAMB delisting.
“I’ve been running this school for over 15 years now, and every one knows I am a person of high integrity. The impression the delisting has created is that there was some sort of fraud in our school during the CBT exam which is not true. The damage it has caused can only be seen when the school resumes for academic activities in September”.
Egbuchilam Kingsley, Centre Administrator, Citizens International College, Aba lamented that it was quite unfortunate and that being delisted by JAMB has put them out of business and is also bad for their image.
“The decision by JAMB to delist our centre really discouraged our proprietor who saw it as a loss and he even told me to do away with the computers installed at our centre but I prevailed upon him to shelve the idea”.
The reputation damage may be colossal but findings suggest that most of the operators appeared ill prepared for long term investments and were blinded by short term gains of JAMB’s ‘promises’ to cover costs, a veiled reference to anticipation of mobilization fees which is typical of government contracts.
Profit? No, we are giving back to society
Centre operators refuse to admit that the profit motive was at the heart of their investment decisions.
Ihenwe Samuel Livinus, the Centre Administrator Akassi Computer Institute, Aba, which was also delisted for misconduct and gross technical deficiencies said his CBT centre boasts 274 computer capacity, more than what is required by JAMB.
He claims Akassi Computer Institute was delisted in error and that JAMB did not provide any form of subvention to aid centres to ensure that the exams went ahead smoothly, saying centres were made to provide 80 per cent of items needed like venue for the exam, computers to be used by the students, a CCTV installed at the centre and a standby soundproof generator, while the exam body provided only 20 per cent in logistics.
“It cost us so much putting all of this together and the only thing JAMB provided during the exams were routers given to CBT centres to get connected to the internet”.
Livinus noted that money was not the motive to get Akassi Computer Institute accredited by JAMB saying the proprietor of his institution saw it as a way to get more Abians educated and his way of giving back to society.
“Making money was not the motive in our bid to get Akassi Computer Institute accredited by JAMB. It was just a way the proprietor of the institution wanted to give back to the society that produced him and also ensure that the institute gets the needed stature that it craves.
“We were not financially motivated to get the centre accredited and for the past two years that we’ve been staging JAMB exams, our proprietor flies in from America to ensure that everything is in place and the exam at our centre goes on as scheduled”.
The CBT centres make money after they are approved, as they are given access codes to register each students for a fee of N700 and during the exams, a fee of N600 is paid for every student that shows up for the examinations because in some cases there are absentees.
Eddie echoed a similar sentiment, that profit making is not the main motive for setting up a centre to be used as a JAMB CBT centre.
“There is no money to be made in this. It’s a long term investment. What some do is that in-between the CBT exams they use the centres as computer training centres, so the computers and other facilities don’t just lie fallow wasting away”, he stated.
According to a staff of Emrald College, Igwuruta, Rivers State who refused to give his name, “It is capital intensive to set up a CBT centre, it takes between 10 to 20 million naira to set up one and that is based on ingenuity because the centres are funding it themselves. The labour involved in it is also capital intensive and to upgrade an already existing centre will cost no less than N5 million. Even the money JAMB pays every centre is not enough to cover the expenses incurred in setting up or upgrading an existing centre.
“There is no assurance of getting back funds invested in getting your centre accredited by JAMB in the short, or medium term. The only thing provided by JAMB is a router provided for internet connectivity, the cost of which will be deducted when centres are paid money for the number of students who wrote the exams at their centre”, he explained.
Ripples Nigeria findings, however, reveal that the main motivation for investing in the centres was purely profit, for many of the operators. There were desperate moves to cut corners to ensure profitability, even as it couldn’t be independently confirmed what constituted ‘20% logistics’ for CBT centres as admitted by an operator.
‘We’ll protest this injustice. No let’s not….’
Even as the CBT centres owners sulk over the fate that has befallen them, some are reluctant to confront the exam body over the matter. Initially, the anger of the delisting made a number of them vow to challenge JAMB, in form of protests, and petitions. It was discovered that most later backed out.
Ripples Nigeria obtained some copies of petitions purportedly packaged for JAMB but could not independently verify if they were eventually acknowledged by the board.
Findings revealed that those affected by the JAMB hammer had initially come together to write a joint letter but decided that it should be an individual initiative since some were delisted, while others were only suspended for a period of time.
Also in Rivers, the umbrella body of the CBT operators, Computer-Based Test Centres Proprietors Association of Nigeria (CPAN) refused to get involved, on the excuse that not every member was affected by the JAMB action. It, therefore, directed those involved to face the music themselves, and sort it out with the exam body.
One of the operators also confided in Ripples Nigeria that Mrs Effa-Nyiam, the State JAMB Coordinator, also advised the operators against doing a petition. She was said to have advised that they should instead write to JAMB to furnish them with more information as to what led to their centres being delisted.
Emeka Uribe, CEO of Mchief Communications ICT centre, Aba, who said that he found it surprising that JAMB didn’t write officially stating or giving reasons his centre was blacklisted, stated that he has written a protest letter to the exam body stating that his case should be re-visited.
Chikezie said the situation and insensitivity of JAMB has forced him to pen a protest letter dated July 7, as he awaits to hear the fate of his CBT centre from the exam body which has not reached out to him, except on the pages of newspapers after the exam was staged in May.
“I have written a petition to JAMB protesting that there was no such thing as malpractice and nothing like technical deficiency or system failure experienced during the exams at my centre. They can also confirm from the supervisors they sent to my centre to monitor the exams”.
Prosecutor, Judge and executioner
Reacting to a host of questions ranging from the reason CBT centres could be delisted for gross technical deficiencies when they were earlier approved by JAMB, to why the centres were not officially written stating reason they were blacklisted, Dr Fabian Benjamin, JAMB’s Head, Media and Information, told Ripples Nigeria that the Board has a channel of communication and that centres can be delisted even after they’ve been accredited.
“Our approval does not mean that when something goes wrong at a centre, then that centre cannot be held responsible. If we approve a centre that has a generating set and we come and inspect again and see that the generating set is not working, that centre will be delisted for technical deficiencies. If JAMB approves a centre with 250 computers and we come for inspection unannounced and discover that the centre in question has just 100 computers, that centre will be delisted.
“The affected CBT centres cannot say they are not aware that their centres have been delisted. We have a channel of communication and as far as I am concerned, they are quite aware of the status of their centres relating to the exams taken in May, he said.
He added that he wasnot aware of, nor seen any petition written by affected CBT centres while also informing that the case of server failure experienced by some students during the exams wasn’t taken into consideration for results that were seized.
“General server failure does not affect the outcome of a student’s result; the result of a student will be seized only when it is established that the candidate engaged in exam malpractice.
“To the best of my knowledge, we didn’t have any issue of such; a server could be a laptop or a computer. I don’t think there was anything of such because the computers we bought for our supervisors for the exams were brand new HP computers. If they are referring to power or network issues then that is a different problem entirely,” he said.
He alleged that most proprietors see JAMB exams as a profitable business urging them to rather view it as way of contributing to the educational development in Nigeria.
“The problem is that most of the CBT centres see the examination as business and that has been our challenge and the way we see the whole process is not the same way they see it. We want CBT centres to see it as contribution to national development such that when history is written tomorrow, the centre will be recorded to have contributed immensely to the educational development of Nigeria. We do not see or view it from the profit and loss point of view which is the mind set of most CBT centres. And until they begin to see it from that perspective, they will not appreciate what they are doing.”
Listing the benefits each CBT centre stands to gain after accreditation, Dr Benjamin said; “One of the benefits that they should be happy about is the fact that we are bringing other stake holders on board and the user base of JAMB is such that there will be constant training for basic computer literacy for officials of the CBT centres and the provisions for that will be reflected in the 2018 budget. Besides that, we made sure that this year; registration for the exam was purely a business of CBT centres and also there are other activities they’ll benefit by registering candidates which will also fetch them money.
“We also made routers and internet connectivity available for the CBT centres for one year whereby they can provide services to the public and earn money. From the profit and loss point of view, it may not be a profitable venture because the gestation period will take some time but if these centre see it as an opportunity of nation building, then it will be worth the while”.
He said that most centres had been informed before hand that JAMB exam is not a profit and loss affair but also admitted that the unprofitable nature of the exam may force some centres to involve themselves in malpractice in order to recoup huge sums spent installing computers and other facilities at their CBT centres.
Dr Benjamin also informed that he is not aware that some delisted centres have been paid their dues accruing to them for successfully conducting the last JAMB exam, while some other centres have not been paid.
“I don’t have information stating that some delisted centres have been paid while others have been left out but what I know is that before the examinations proper we had an agreement with the CBT centres that if a centre is found guilty of malpractice or misconduct, whatever is due to the affected centre will not be paid. So, if others have been paid, then I don’t know about that.”
He further stated, “If some of those centres that were delisted want to be sincere with you, they’ll tell you that they are guilty and some of them that came to us have confessed and the most important thing in the final analysis is that some centres were involved in malpractice. We were able to establish that fact though CCTV cameras installed at the CBT centres coupled with the recent biometrics mode of registration that we introduced”.
He was, however, not able to explain why they were never confronted with evidence of wrongdoing, or given a chance to defend whatever crime they we’re accused of.
Will a real trial come to pass?
There are, however, still a number of questions begging for answers, as there seems to be some underlining issues.
One basic question borders on why JAMB has allegedly refused to formally communicate with the delisted/suspended CBT operators, but instead exhibits a ‘lord and master’ demeanor.
On the heels of the news of the JAMB action, Prof. Oloyede had further informed that the CBT Centres which were delisted in the 2017 UTME would undergo investigation by security agencies, while their proprietors would be made to face trial in Court.
As at the time of this report, almost three months later, this has not happened. None of the operators spoken to has been invited, either by JAMB, or any security agencies, in relation to the CBT exams in question.
None of them has also been formally informed of commencement of trial on their role in the said exams that led to the JAMB actions.
This revelation calls to question JAMB’s transparency, and accountability in relation to its stakeholders. Whatever is the case with the CBT operators, justice demands that they must be given fair hearing.
Findings further suggest that operators may simply have coiled into their shells to lick their wounds, as it were, and refused to fight JAMB to prove their innocence.
One operator confessed that the reluctance of the sanctioned CBT operators to pursue their cases, against claims that they did nothing wrong, is because JAMB holds the stick, and the carrot, and arbitrarily applies whichever it feels comfortable with.
Until alleged transgressors are formally investigated and charged before appropriate courts, it would seem that JAMB’s action is a media trial staged to divert attention from certain failings in the run-up, and the exams proper.
The most plausible argument in its favour at the moment is that it’s actions are but a ploy to use the affected centres as scapegoats to send a message to those who may want to breach its system.
By Etaghene Edirin and Ahmed Boulor
RipplesNigeria… without borders, without fears