By Kuni Tyessi
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) yesterday paraded two of its staff members who allegedly extorted money from Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidates with the promise to help them secure university’s admission.
One of the affected staff members, Mr. Andy Okoro, a level 12 officer in Delta State JAMB office, said he collected N500,000 from four candidates’ parents, out of which he paid N180,000 to a colleague, Gambo Ibrahim Abba, to help facilitate their university admission.
The bubble burst when one of the parents in Delta State petitioned JAMB on Okoro’s activities, a move that prompted the Board to investigate deeply into the issue.
Okoro told journalists yesterday evening in Abuja that he engaged in the fraudulent act because of economic hardship.
A mild drama, however, ensued when his accomplice, Gambo, who had earlier claimed that he was into fish business with Okoro, later admitted that his involvement in the act might not be “ordinary.”
Gambo, a level 8 officer at JAMB headquarters, said he was probably hypnotised by Okoro to engage in the shady deals, adding that he only got to know him by phone last year through a third party.
According to Gambo, “It was not ordinary; he was just calling me, but I didn’t know him. He lured me into this when he convinced me that he has been into it for a long time.”
The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, who expressed surprise that the affected staff defied the Board’s zero tolerance for corruption, vowed to ensure they face the full wrath the law.
He said: “Anybody who engages in sharp practices, no matter who the person is, will not be protected by the Board because JAMB has zero tolerance for corruption.”
Oloyede called on parents and candidates not to allow anyone collect money from them on the guise of helping them to secure admission to their choice institution, as the system is now fully automated.
According to the registra, “The admission exercise into tertiary institutions has been automated, therefore, anybody working in JAMB or anyone who has good calculation, and what the admission process is, can predict who can be admitted because it has been automated.
“What is happening now is that people know those that will be admitted, because they know by the automation that a person could be admitted, still they extort the parents of those that have already been slated for admission.
“We need to let the public know that there is no halfway to admission; nobody should bribe or give any money to anybody whether they are JAMB staff or not. Anybody who solicits money from any parent, such parent should inform the Board.”