Tuesday Column By VICTORIA NGOZI IKEANO
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It is indeed a new low in examination cheating, a new novel form of cheating. We are used to being regaled with various forms of examination malpractices aided and abetted by some schools, some teachers, some parents and some officials. But this is a new level that beats one’s imagination. It is as depressing as it is amazing – manipulating one’s JAMB scores in order apparently to get huge financial rewards from organisations and state governments that are eager to recognise academic excellence. And this particular instance is distressing to me for two reasons. First, it involves the feminine gender. The high pedestal which women occupy in the upbuilding of this world (through their quiet working in constrast to men’s obtrusive kind of working) cannot be overemphasised. Hence, the saying that, if you educate a woman, you educate a nation; if you nurture a girl child, you nurture the nation. There has in recent years been renewed zeal, advocate and commitment to education of the girl across our country, with some states in particularly up north giving them special incentives to encourage girl child enrolment in schools. Secondly is that the person involved is a 16-year-old SS3 student of a missionary school, a teenager. Teenagers are in that stage of their lives where the ‘generative power’ is breaking through wherein they have this unconscious drive/urge for what is ideal/good. We are yet to fully grasp the origin and purpose of this generative power and many a youth instead of using generative power that is breaking forth within them for energetic upbuilding activities, misuse use it, divert it into indulging in vices, forming big boys and big girls. With the setting in of the generatve power’, the youth becomes a fully responsible individual in the ‘eyes’ of the laws of creation – fully responsible for all his activities(in thought, words and deeds) and the inevitable karmaic reactions. Until then they are regarded as children. A child in the wise ordering of the Creator’s Creation, is regarded as not fully equipped to face the struggles of life and so protected. Which is why Children are known to survive in accidents where almost every other persons died. With respect to our earthly laws, the period when the generative power’ sets in is equivalent to the ‘age of puberty’…..
Let me revert to the kernel of this topic. Here is the statement of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB). on the matter at hand.”The attention of JAMB has been drawn to several publications in both print and online media celebrating certain candidates for being high scorers in the 2023 UTME.The Board is constrained to set the records straight and wishes to state unequivocally that many of the results which many of these candidates are parading are fake. In many instances, some of these candidates had actually obtained far lower scores than they are claiming and had used some funny software packages to manipulate their results to deceive unsuspecting members of the public.
“The most pathetic of them all is the case of Miss Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma, who claimed to have scored 362 in the 2023 UTME and was awarded a N3m scholarship by Chief (Dr.) Innocent Chukwuma.She was even set to be honoured by the Anambra State Government when one of its top officials put a call through to JAMB to confirm her claim only for the Board to reveal that Miss Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma had actually scored 249 and not 362 she claimed. She had manipulated her UTME result to deceive the public to fraudulently obtain scholarship and other recognitions.
“A similar case was that of one Atung Gerald in Kaduna, who claimed to have scored 380. His ethnic group had taken the issue up requesting that he should be given special recognition only for the Board to disappoint them with the incontestable fact that Atung never obtained the 2023 UTME application documents not to talk of sitting the examination.
“The Board would, therefore, want to advise the public to always cross check these claims by candidates with the Board before rushing to honour them with undeserving awards as certain software have been created to fake their version of their results and put same out in the public.
“It is to be noted that Miss Mmesoma had sent a message to the Board’s platform to request her UTME result after which she manually inflated her scores and pasted same on the 2022 UTME result sheet. Unknown to her, the Board had changed the design of the 2023 UTME result sheet. Her original result remains 249 as nothing can change that. With this her ignoble act, Miss Mmesoma would be prosecuted and her original result withdrawn. This is not all as the Board would, in due course, investigate all candidates laying claims to higher scores than they actually obtained. Once discovered, such candidates’ original results would be withdrawn forthwith and they would be handed over to relevant security agencies for prosecution”.
The highest score this year according to JAMB is 360. So, anybody claiming a score above that is a forger. From JAMB’s statement one can deduce that Meso did not embark on the forgery alone, given that she is not an IT expert. I guess she was aided by some computer experts that are familiar with that software that JAMB referenced. It is possible that these emerging fraudsters on this frontier approach some of these candidates and convince them they could help them change their results from JAMB’s portal, help them publicise it in order to enable them get scholarships and high financial rewards from corporate organisations and others. They might have struck a deal with the candidates to be given a certain percentage of the financial rewards. And the candidates may have agreed to the ‘forgery’ without the knowledge of their schools or parents. Note that fraudsters normally tell their ‘ victims’ not to tell anyone else about the plans.
Candidates from relatively poor backgrounds whose parents/guardians cannot afford to sponsor them to higher institutions without help are likely to fall for such misdeeds. All relevant authorities should conduct a thorough investigations to fish out those behind the actual forging of these results, who lure these teenagers to tread such corrupt ways.