Chris Steven, Abuja
At least 25 people are currently being held by the Police for extortion and illegally selling registration materials to candidates preparing for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME.
The Registrar of JAMB, Is-haq Oloyede who disclosed this at the weekend said the arrest was carried out by a combined team of JAMB’s Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit ,ACTU, members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC and the Nigeria Police following a tip-off.
He said that the e-Brochure and e-Syllabus for the examination which were meant to be free were being sold by the culprits as high as N800 each nationwide, while also extorting money and inflating cost of registration from candidates.
Speaking with journalists in his office in Bwari, Abuja, shortly after the arrest, Oloyede said the people that were caught were those who were on illegal pilgrimage.
He said, “Our quality assurance unit, particularly the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit had to go out to see what is happening, following reports of extortion.
We were having reports that candidates are paying more than the N5,500 that is required. The perpetrators have been cautioned and are presently under surveillance. For many of them that have been caught, I don’t think they will want to be caught for the second time in the future after serving the severe punishments awaiting them.
“We keep on telling people that they are to pay just N5,500, which is N5,000 to JAMB and N500 for the book (e-Brochure and e-Syllabus) and that is all. But for the centre where they register, the owner of the centres will get a maximum of N700. We have arrested about 25 persons, all over the country. They are those who are doing what they are not supposed to do, by charging the candidates higher than expected. They will not escape justice, they will appear in Court.
According to him, JAMB has not asked anybody to pay extra money or asked anybody to go to any business centre for the creation of profile.
Oloyede said the the banks and Computer-Based Test centres have reached an agreement with JAMB, that they would create the profile for the candidates.
“And whether you go to the banks, NIPOST or anywhere to buy the pin, it is part of their responsibility to create the profile for the candidates. Nobody is expected to pay more than what we have specified.
But what we have found out is that many people are gullible. What we have done is that the ACTU had gone out and raided the centres. We found out that many of the centres are playing on the ignorance of the candidates. We have advertised in 10 national Newspapers, yet they still allow themselves to be extorted”, he emphasised.
Oloyede also faulted claims by many of the candidates who have the impression that it would be better for them to register only in JAMB-owned centres.
He said, “It is not true, whether you register at the JAMB centres or in any accredited centres, there is no difference. But we have large number of people in CBT centres owned by JAMB. I think that is unnecessary. You can go to NIPOST, you can go to other accredited CBT centres.
“People are saying that there is poor connectivity, I don’t know what they mean by that. May be, they are using old terms. Many of the business centres who want us to return to the old practice or those who are producing the scratch cards and want to continue extorting money from people are the ones echoing this noise and creating unnecessary problem for the candidates.”
While assuring that every eligible candidate would be registered before the end of the one month exercise, the JAMB CEO, cautioned against panic registration, adding that “if anybody stresses himself or herself, it is because they want to do so.”
“In some cases, we rush to something that we do not need to rush for. There is also this argument that banks are having problems, if you have problems going to banks, why can’t you go to NIPOST? Why can’t you go to online for interswitch or remitter? We have sold our pin to all these people for the candidates to access all these online. We have shouted and made the noise. When people are not listening, what can we do?”, he stressed.
He commended members of the NSCDC and the Nigeria Police who have been very wonderful.