The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has apprehended a policeman, identified as Etim Israel, who allegedly engaged another person to sit the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination on his behalf.
Israel, a constable attached to the Akwa Ibom State Command, was said to have registered for the UTME with his name while the mercenary/impersonator used his picture and other biometric details to sit the exam.
Israel, who was said to have applied to study Fishery at the Akwa Ibom State University in the 2020 UTME, reportedly confessed that he paid N30,000 to engage the services of the mercenary (a teacher), one Emmanuel, said to be on the run, to sit the examination as he was away on special duties.
After scoring over 240 in the exam, he was said to have decided to commence the admission process, but was told that he wouldn’t sail through because of the disparity in the photographs.
The difficulty was said to have prompted him to visit the JAMB office for correction but it landed him in trouble.
“I went to their (JAMB) office to change my picture when they told me (in Akwa Ibom) that I wouldn’t be able to use the result because of the picture,” Israel reportedly said.
He was said to have appealed to JAMB to temper justice with mercy, with a promise to help in investigating issues of impersonation in UTME.
The Registrar of JAMB, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, said Israel would be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
While expressing concern over the antics of some candidates who try to circumvent watertight measures put in place to prevent impersonation, he cited an instance where a woman’s name appeared on the registration list and a man would attempt to sit on her behalf.
He said, “When some candidates complain that they have registered for our examination but could not be verified on the day of examination, many do not grasp the full import of their claims as such candidates, who are more often than not impersonators, are expected to be allowed to enter the examination hall without undergoing necessary searches.
“However, in the last UTME, JAMB introduced the taking of a snapshot of the candidate who claims they could not be verified and comparing the new picture with the one in our database. As a result of this innovation, only very few cases of impersonation were recorded compared with the number in the past.”
Oloyede said the number of candidates who had challenges with verification dropped from over 70,000 in 2019 to 4,900 in 2020, adding however that the figure was still high.
The JAMB Chief Executive assured candidates that had genuine verification challenges during the 2020 UTME that the organisation would fix a new date for them to write the exam.
Oloyede said the policeman was one of the 657 candidates who requested change of picture in their registration profiles, adding that he was arrested when he could not give convincing reasons before he later confessed to engaging a mercenary in the exam.
Oloyede said JAMB might not have the capacity to ensure the robust prosecution of all those involved in impersonation during the UTME, but would select some from across the country to face the wrath of the law.