Over 100 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination candidates in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja have voiced their disgruntlement concerning the conduct of the 2019 UTME, and have demanded that a new UTME be conducted by the board for them. The aggrieved candidates claimed that they could not take the 2019 examination because of biometric and electricity failures, and gave this demand in separate interviews in Abuja.
Their outcry is coming just as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission assured that it would investigate candidates’ claims and the alleged lapses of JAMB in the 2019 UTME, which included giving the candidates scores in papers they were not able to write.
Halimat Shuaibu, one of the candidates, complained that the JAMB biometric machine malfunctioned at her Computer-Based Test Centre in Wuse Zone 4 and her fingerprints could not be captured for the examination.
She said, “The invigilator asked me and other affected candidates to fill an incident form which he promised to take to the JAMB headquarters for action but nothing happened. The examination was supposed to be rescheduled for me and I was told to expect a text message. But nothing came.
“When it was time to print the results, it said I was absent from the examination hall. But it was not my fault. The board should give us an opportunity to go and resit our examination.”
Another candidate, Aminu Basha, said, “In my CBT centre, 81 of us were affected. We were the first set of candidates scheduled for 7am on April 11. But the exam started after 9am.
“Just minutes into the test, some candidates’ laptops had technical issues and the officials at the centre could not handle the faults. I was affected too. I was able to take only two papers. Clearly I did not do Physics. I did only English and Biology. I did not do Chemistry. But when the results were out, about 81 of us got 19 in Physics.
“This same result cannot be a coincidence. There was a problem and JAMB must allow us to take our examination properly.”
A parent of one of the affected candidates, identified only as Hassan, said, “If JAMB is doubting that these kids are telling lies, what about the supervisors at the centres? Are they also telling lies? What about the Closed Circuit Television? Did they capture the candidates taking the examination? So please let JAMB find a way of capturing their data and allow them to do the exams.”
The ICPC spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, while addressing the JAMB issue in an interview on Human Rights Radio on Friday said, “As a mother, it is very painful to me. The ICPC chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, is going to take action on this matter. This is a crisis that we have to address. We have to find a lasting solution for these children. The issue of JAMB giving marks to those who did not do the examination would be looked into.”
The JAMB Head of Public Relations, Dr Fabian Benjamin, in an interview, said, “As it stands now, the policy of the board is that no biometrics, no examination. We don’t have any window of conducting examinations besides biometrics. That is our policy.”
Speaking on the issue on the status of anonymity, a top official of JAMB said, “Go and read normalisation under measurements in conducting an examination. What normalisation means is that in a national examination like the one we did and anywhere in the world, when you do the examination, for every candidate that has attempted a subject, there is an average score. That explains the 19 score given to 81 of them.”