– As hitches threaten exercise
Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia and   Funmi Ogundare                

The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), at the weekend, kicked-off the conduct of its 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination across the country and eight other foreign countries.

This is as various hitches marred the exercise across the country, from reports from different centres and locations.

The board had explained that the examination, which has been divided into two splits, is expected to last not more than 14 days starting from February 27 and that a total number of 1,589,175 candidates applied for it, which included 201 visually impaired persons.

The Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde said it was the first examination it would be   conducting under the presence administration, and that the board after the closure of registration had to reopen its portal for candidates who couldn’t complete the process of the 2016 registration to do so.

According to him, “the board wants to use this opportunity to clearly state that the federal ministry of education and JAMB will not be doing this again and prospective future candidates should take note as registration will close as indicated on our advertisement.”
He said the 180 cut-off point is a minimum requirement and not an indication that one is admissible, adding that other factors, criteria of admissions will also follow in arriving at what constitute admissible cut-off point.

Emphasising on incidence of examination malpractices and other related offences, the Registrar said the board would continue to use the biometric verification machine to verify candidates before admitting them for the examination.

THISDAY monitored some of the centres in Lagos, where the UTME kicked-off between 11 am and 12noon. The conduct of this year’s examination went without hitches but for some candidates who did not print out the right e-registration slips containing their centre/registration numbers, as well as temporary network problem.

Some of the centres where the examination took place in Lagos include Yaba College of Technology (YabaTech), West Midland Communication Limited, Ikeja, Electronic Test Centre (Etc), and in JKK on Ikorodu road.

At, JKK, the JAMB supervisor, Mrs. Fatima Mohammed said 295 out of 300 candidates assigned to the centre reported early for the examination, adding that there were no problems with the biometric machine, technical equipment and no late coming on the part of the candidates.

At the Yabatech centre, the Coordinator of the board’s national headquarters, Lagos annex, Dr. Beatrice Okorie said out of the 180 candidates assigned to the centre, only one was absent. She however noted that some of the candidates flouted the rule that they should not come to the centre with any item other than their slips and biros.

While only one session of the examination held at the weekend, Okorie said there would be two or three sessions daily in various centres for the 14-day duration of the examination, adding that out of the 30 split centres, 23 split two centres will start conducting their examinations from March 7.

Meanwhile, more than 40 travelers were yesterday arrested and convicted by a mobile court at Uzuakoli in Bende local government of Abia state for failing to observe the monthly environmental sanitation exercise.

It was gathered that the defaulters were going for a funeral ceremony when they were nabbed by security agents, who immediately arraigned them before a mobile court presided over by a magistrate.

The convicted sanitation defaulters were fined between N1, 000 and N5, 000 each. According to eye witnesses, students who were among the arrested defaulters were treated as “minors” and discharged without any fine while one of the drivers was handed three months prison term with an option of N10,000 fine.

It was generally thought that the sanitation exercise for the month of February would not hold since it coincided with the day set aside for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB).
As no public announcement was made in Abia in respect of cancelling the sanitation exercise to ensure free movement for candidates writing the UTME, people took it for granted that there would be no prohibition of movement.

When confronted with the confusion created over the clash of sanitation exercise with UTME, Abia commissioner for environment, Gab Igboko told journalists in Umuahia that the information on the UTME date came late hence it was not possible to call off the sanitation exercise at the eleventh hour.

However he said security agents were strictly instructed not to arrest any student going to write the UTME once the person was properly identified.

He also said it was not possible for any UTME candidate to be affected by the restriction on movement since sanitation exercise in Abia starts by 9.00am and ends by 11.00am, adding that any student going for the UTME would have left home and reached the examination centre early enough.
Also, system failure reportedly caused hitches and delays in the commencement of the 2016 UTME at some centres in Lagos on Saturday.

The UTME was organised by JAMB which adopted the Computer-Based Test (CBT) model for the examination. Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) monitoring the commencement of the examination reported that it was a mixed grill for candidates with some complaining, while others were commending JAMB.

Some of the candidates were praising JAMB for the smooth arrangement at some centres while others were pouring scorn on the board for its shoddy arrangements “from year to year”.

The test could not start at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) in Oshodi as scheduled because of system failure that made accreditation of candidates to commence at 10.30 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. A JAMB Supervisor at the DBI, Mr. Stephen Ignatius, told NAN that the delay was due to a system failure from Abuja.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Kano State said it deployed 84 of its officers to 21 designated centres of the ongoing University Tertiary Matriculation Examination in the state.

The Public Relations Officer of the command, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, disclosed this in an interview with NAN in Kano yesterday. According to him, the command deployed four officers to each of the 21 centres across the state to ensure the success of the exercise. “Each centre has four officers, three males and a female to monitor the exercise,” he said.

He explained that the officers were deployed to the examination centres to monitor the exercise and to provide security at the designated centres.
NAN reports that no fewer than 720,470 registered candidates are expected to sit for computer based UTME in the state.

The UTME began yesterday across 19 centres in Edo, including Benin city, the capital, amidst tight security. The NAN correspondent who visited some of the centres in Benin, reports that men of the Police Force and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were present at the centres visited.
NAN reports that the Police and the NSCDC jointly deployed a total of 167 officers to various centres across the state.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Abiodun Osifo and the NSCDC Spokesman, Mr. Efosa Ogbebor, who both spoke to NAN, said they provided 101 and 68 personnel respectively to ensure peaceful conduct of the examination. They said the personnel would be on ground throughout the six days the examination would last.