The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has suspended three PIN vendors involved in its ongoing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration exercise.
The suspension, which was with immediate effect, was for what it described as ‘criminal extortion’ of innocent candidates participating in the ongoing registration exercise nationwide for the 2023 UTME.
The JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, ordered the immediate suspension of the agents while on inspection of some registration centres on Tuesday in Lagos.
According to him, the board will no longer condone any act designed to compromise the standard of the entire process of the examination.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oloyede, in the course of the inspection, engaged some of the candidates waiting to be registered in discussions about their experience .
In the process, the candidates revealed how much they acquired the PIN, with some who purchased it beyond the stipulated amount saying so innocently and quoting the affected PIN Vendors (agents).
The JAMB boss, infuriated at the discovery, put a call across to the affected vendors, and during the interrogation informed them that they were suspended with immediate effect.
“You see, from my interaction with these candidates, I have discovered that three of the agents vending the PINS are over-charging the candidates.
“Rather than the stipulated N5,700, they go as far as charging N6,500 and N8,700. The Mock fee not included. One of the banks, in connivance with remita, charged N8,500, but issued receipt of N5,700 to the unsuspecting candidates.
“All these persons found culpable will be given an opportunity to defend their actions and if their excuses are not justified, they will be banned from further transactions with the board,” he said.
While condemning the act, he explained that the board paid the agents weekly commission of five per cent of the money realised.
He argued that there was, therefore, no excuse whatsoever for over-charging the candidates.
The JAMB boss said that the board had so far paid over N300 million commission to the agents and owners of the Computer Based Test (CBT) centres.
According to him, the actions of the culprits showed that they are not decent enough to participate in the ongoing registration exercise.
He urged all stakeholders of the examination to collaborate to make things right in the country.
On why the board was insisting on having all candidates create personal e-mail addresses for the examination, Oloyede explained that no important form in today’s world could be completed without e-mails.
He said that the world would not wait for anyone, and Nigeria must strive to move along with current trends.
The registrar said that it cost the board a lot of money to communicate with candidates via text messages, adding that e-mail cost less.
He urged all candidates desirous of sitting for the examination to expedite action and get themselves registered on time, as the board did not intend to extend the Feb. 14 deadline.
Speaking on the excercise so far, Oloyede described it as impressive and seamless.
“In fact, I want to say everything is going on fine since the commencement of the registration nationwide. In fact, I will say it has been excellent. We are indeed ready.
“You know, we have signed a Service-Level Agreement (SLA) with all the service providers, that should there be any glitch, there is a penalty, and they are all aware of that.
“So, so far, we have registered over 533,000 candidates,” he said.
NAN reports that the UTME registration began on Jan. 14. The examination proper is scheduled to hold from April 29 to May 12. (NAN)