By Andrew Oota
Senate has mandated it’s panels on tertiary institutions and public petitions to immediately investigate allegations of admission racketeering in higher institutions against the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) with the view to ensuring that the board administers justice and places high premium on merit .
Senator Nwebonyi Onyeka (Ebonyi North) had drawn attention of the Senate through a motion questioning what he refered to as “practice of Undisclosed Admissions and other unwholesome practices by JAMB and Universities, particularly the University of Nigeria, Nsukka”.
The mover of the motion explained that the duties of JAMB amongst others includes regulating admissions into other higher or tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria, prompting the change of nomenclature of the entrance examination from the UME to the United Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), to include entrance into Nigerian universities, polytechnics, mono-technics , and colleges of education.
He explained that “JAMB initially offer provisional admissions into tertiary institutions on awaiting result status but stopped it on the ground that many applicants who were offered such admissions abused the awaiting result life-line by not obtaining the qualifying results for the admissions till their graduation.
“The authorities of Tertiary Institutions, in cahoots with some JAMB officials have reverted to the practice of provisional admissions into prized professional courses like medicine and surgery, pharmacy, law, Engineering, nursing science, etc. with view to shortchanging some students already offered admission in
exchange for gratification.
“The travails of one Miss Chinyere Ekwe and 290 others who were admitted to study medicine and surgery at the University of Nigeria Nsukka but had their admissions truncated on the order of JAMB for No plausible reason, after they had completed the admission processes and resumed lectures. Miss Ekwe, in particular, scored 291 in the 2019 UTME and 300 in the university’s post UTME, which qualified her for the course and was subsequently admitted by the university;
“The said Chinyere Ekwe was transferred to the department of medical laboratory science on the ground that if her cumulative grade point is up to 4.5 points after the first year, she would be transferred back to medicine and surgery. However, despite the fact that she surpassed the 4.5 threshold, her admission status is still not yet certain as to whether she is duly admitted in the department of medicine and surgery or medical laboratory science;
“The provisional admission practice is being used as a malicious tool to exploit and frustrate intelligent young Nigerians who are children and wards of ordinary people who seek admission into Nigerian universities
“These children who bestirred themselves to make good grades in their UTME are being made to pay the necessary fees, undergo the rigorous processes of registration and matriculation, resume lectures, and sometimes, even take semester examinations, only to be transferred to other less competitive courses by the universities in connivance with JAMB without any plausible explanations, thereby destroying their ambitions in the course of the unholy act of course swap;
“The psycho emotional trauma this unexplained course swap bears on the victims is so devastating that it is capable of leading the individuals to depression, loss of enthusiasm, and worse even, leading some of the victims into crimes; and also that such uncertainty and unfair treatment as meted out to Miss Chinyere Ekwe could cause the aspiring young girl irredeemable emotional trauma and loss of confidence in the Nigerian state; and that such unwholesome practices put our educational system in jeopardy, cause apathy on the side of ordinary Nigerians, and also dampen the renewed hope this government stands for”.
Senate however, turned down tough recommendations to compel JAMB to give admission letter to Miss Chinyere Ekwe to study medicine and surgery science without delay neither compel the board and university of Nigeria ,Nsukka to resolve the lingering cases of undisclosed admissions that has allegedly left the fate of over 290 qualified students hanging by giving the admission letters ,rather the Senate directed it’s two panels to probe the wealthy allegations .