The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has launched a probe into the credentials of applicants dating back to 2009.
This implies that persons who cheated the system to pass the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination to get into school and may have even graduated and participated in the National Youth Service Corps will be arrested and their certificates withdrawn.
The Head, Media and Information of JAMB, Fabian Benjamin, said this during an interview with Punch on Monday saying the probe had begun and it would be completed in record time as JAMB had acquired software which would be able to identify fake biometric data.
In another interview on 95.1 Nigeria Info FM Abuja, the JAMB spokesman said,
“We want to do what we call biometric verification dating 10 years back. Even if you are now working and we discovered that someone wrote exams for you, we will publish your name and the law agencies will do the needful. We have the biometric data from 10 years ago. We will compare the photos with thumbprints and names. We discovered that a candidate could have taken exams with 30 different names.”
Explaining how impersonation takes place, Benjamin said, “This is how they operate: My name is Fabian Benjamin but I will register as Abdullahi Musa and do exams for Abdullahi Musa but I will use my picture and my biometric data; only the name will be different. I will register as John David, as Austin Steven. I will register in the name of anyone that pays me, do exams for that person but I will use my picture. What this means is that when I get into the hall, the biometric data verification will allow me to enter but I will do the exam for someone else.
“The person whom exams were taken on his behalf would get into university and of course most universities don’t use the pictures of JAMB during admissions but what we want to enforce now is that the institutions must use the picture of the person. We will give the institutions the photo and it must match. In fact, only our pictures must be accepted by the institutions.”
The JAMB spokesman said it had become important to expose exam cheats to serve as a deterrent to others. He said the photos of those found culpable would be published for all to see even if they were now working class persons.
Benjamin said, “If you graduated from university and you did not take UTME, it means the foundation is faulty and the building cannot stand. We have already started the probe but we will go deeper after the exams.
“It will not take too long. We are using software, so it will just check the biometric data of candidates and if the biometric data of someone shows about six different names, then it will notify us. So, if one person’s photo brings up different names and we have spotted this, we will find out where the person is and then we will pick them up.”
He said the agency had been able to arrest over 100 persons nationwide for malpractices in the ongoing examinations.
Benjamin said JAMB had written a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation for advice on prosecution. “Even if they are not punished, let the public know that Mr A who is a doctor became so after someone did exams for him. That shame alone will serve as a deterrent to others. We must start from 10 years ago so that others will learn,” he said.