Violence Engulfs JAMB Centre as Candidates Block Abuja-Lokoja Expressway


Over 440,000 candidates wrote exam on day two
Omololu Ogunmade and 
 Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Violence erupted yesterday at the Victory International Institute of Theology, kilometer 70, Abuja-Lokoja Expressway, centre of Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) organised by Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Kwali area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following over eight hours delay in the take-off of the examination.

Whereas the examination had been scheduled to take off at 7a.m., it was yet to commence several hours after, as the generator meant to power the centre for the electronic examination did not function, thus resulting in unrest among candidates which eventually turned violent.

An eyewitness who made a distress call to THISDAY on the telephone, disclosed that following the delay, students became agitated, culminating in their decision to troop into the Abuja-Lokoja expressway and barricaded the road. He said the blockade resulted in traffic gridlock which snowballed into violence as men of the Nigeria Police had a hectic day attempting to put the situation under control.

According to the eye witness, the examination was billed to be conducted in three batches scheduled for 7a.m., 9a.m. and 1.30 p.m. respectively. He added that as at 2p.m., when the last batch of examination ought to be ongoing in the centre, there was no hope in sight about the take-off of the first round of the examination, a situation which created apprehension that went out of control.

He further told THISDAY that at about 2.50p.m. after another generator was brought, the road was cleared but did not address the problem, thus forcing JAMB at about 3p.m. to send three coastal buses to convey the students to another centre in Gwagwalada, some kilometres away from Kwali.
“The blockage of the expressway was due to the delay in starting the JAMB exam as at after 2p.m. instead of 7a.m. for first batch. Road has been cleared after another generator was brought.

“Presently, JAMB has sent three coastal buses perhaps to take the candidates to another centre. The three coastal buses have carried the second day batch candidates to CKC Gwagwalada now,” the witness said.
About 440,000 candidates sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) even as the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) records day-two for the nationwide examinations.
The Registrar of the Board, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, made this known in Abuja during a tour of the examination centres in the nation`s capital.

Professor Oloyede also hinted that examinations would end in Bauchi, Abia and Niger States as well as other states yesterday, while the UTME will continue in Kebbi, Lagos, Oyo and some other states.
On sufficient Computer Based Test (CBT) centres, Oloyede disclosed that centres in Delta State are under utilised, adding that the Board will fully utilise the centres for future examinations.

On the issue of industrial action hindering the commencement of examinations in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho in Oyo State, the JAMB registrar said if the strike is not called off in the school by Monday, students will be transferred to University of Ilorin to write their examinations.

“We understand that there is a sort of strike by either staff or students in LAUTECH; we have two of our centres in that school, and arrangement are being made already to transfer the students because there are no private CBT centres in Ogbomosho and the closest place is Ilorin. Due to the proximity, we believe that it’s better than taking them to Ibadan or any other place in Oyo State,” he stated.

Speaking on strike in Nigerian universities, Professor Oloyede condemned the frequency of strike in the citadel of learning, saying the act destroys the future of the country and citizens’ collective future.
He stated that unions are free to disagree with the government but not at the detriment of students.

“Anybody who loves this country and education will be against incessant strike. I don’t mean that government should take academic or non-academic staff for granted, but it means we should find a way of solving our crisis not at the expense of the innocent ones,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, who was also on the tour of examinations monitoring, applauded the board for smooth conduct of examinations.