…Economic hardship reason for my action -Suspect
By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA
TWO staff of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, that defrauded some candidates seeking admission into universities were nabbed yesterday.
The arrested staff had reportedly extorted money from Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, candidates with the promise to help them secure admission.
The board parades the staff, identified as Andy Okoro- a level 12 officer in Delta State JAMB’s office, and Gambo Ibrahim Abba, at its headquarters late yesterday.
Mr Okoro-,who admitted engaging in the act, explained that 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 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 open up a deep investigation into the issue.
Okoro told newsmen on Monday 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 he was into fish business with Okoro, later admitted that his involvement in the act might nor be “ordinary.”
Gambo, a level 8 officer at JAMB headquarters, said he was probably hypnotized by Okoro to engage in the shady deals, adding that he only got to know him by phone last year through a third party.
“It was not ordinary, he was just calling me, I don’t know him, he lured me into this when he convinced me that he has been into it for a long time,” he lamented.
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 of the law.
” Anybody who engages in sharp practices, no matter who the person is, shall not be protected by the Board because the Board has zero-tolerance for corruption,” the JAMB boss said.
Prof. Oloyede called on parents and candidates not to allow anyone to collect money from them in the guise of helping to secure admission to their chosen institution as the system is now fully automated.
His words: “The admission exercise into tertiary institutions has been automated, therefore anybody working in JAMB or anybody who has good calculation, who knows what 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 this person could be admitted, and they now go and be extorting 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 amount to anybody whether they are JAMB staff or they are not JAMB staff. Anybody who solicit money from any parent, the parent should inform the Board.”
Meanwhile, a tutorial centre operator has landed in trouble for collecting N6,500 registration fees from would-be UTME candidates.
Bayo Olajide, who owns Perfect Tutors centre in Koroduma, Oneman Village, Nasarawa State, was said to have engaged in the act even when JAMB was yet to commence sales of form for the 2021 exercise.
“He has been collecting money from candidates in the name of 2021 UTME registration, and you all know we have not commenced the registration.
“He was arrested and when asked, he claimed he is a tutorial person, that he has been teaching candidates for the exam, but the tragedy of the story is that he is not even qualified to sit for the exam.
“These tutorial centres are used to collect money from candidates and perpetrate exam malpractices.
“Parents should know there is no shortcut to success. He is collecting N6,500 from candidates even when the JAMB fee is not even up to that amount,” JAMB’s Head of Media, Dr Fabian Benjamin, said.
Bayo, who revealed that his highest academic qualification was” O Level”, admitted receiving money from only one person,
He said of the N6,500 he collected, N4,700 was for the anticipated registration JAMB fee while charges for lecture and others account for the balance.