Review NIN policy for UTME now, Senate tells JAMB, NIMC

JAMB directs institutions to begin admissions August 21

…Candidates, parents laud Senate’s intervention

…JAMB’s inclusion of NIN for UTME registration inconsiderate — Ifeanyi Ubah

…Don’t make NIN an exams condition — Ekwunife

…NIN added to registration woes — Students

By Henry Umoru  & Adesina Wahab

The Senate yesterday asked the Federal Ministry of Education, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, and  the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, to as  matter of urgency,  review implementation of  the National Identity Number, NIN, policy.

According to the Senate, this is with a view to extending the UTME registration deadline and requirements until there is a seamless and well-organised process for obtaining NIN.

Consequently, the Senate has urged the Federal Government to review the implementation of its policy making National Identity Number, NIN, a prerequisite for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME..

Candidates and their parents were full of gratitude to the Senate for its intervention, recalling the harrowing experience they had gone through in efforts to register for the examination.

It will be recalled that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, had insisted that the National Identity Number, NIN, was mandatory for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME.

Meanwhile, candidates have lamented that the NIN requirement had added to their registration predicament as many said they were forced to go through difficulties in the form of  extortion, long queues under inclement weather, and other unwholesome practices to enable them register.

Put in place a simple, decentralised system for NIN — Senate

The Senate also urged the Federal Ministry of Education and NIMC to introduce and streamline a simple and decentralised NIN registration process where students will be able to obtain NIN in  accredited school premises.

Resolutions of the Senate yesterday were sequel to a point of order raised by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra South).

The motion was titled “The need to address the untold hardship caused by the introduction of NIN as compulsory requirement for JAMB registration.”

Raising Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, Ubah, while noting the untold hardship the policy had generated for students, said the action “is inconsiderate and a premature decision.”

He said: “For JAMB to include NIN as a pre-condition  for registration of UTME candidates in 2021 is inconsiderate.

“This action is an inconsiderate and premature decision that has further complicated the already rigorous process of both registering for JAMB examination and procuring the NIN.

“JAMB initially attempted to start implementation of this policy in 2020 but had to postpone it, owing to technical problems and irregularities bedeviling the process of obtaining NIN from NIMC.

“From all indications, these technical hitches are yet to be addressed; the long queues at NIMC centres are a testimony to the fact that a well-organised process is yet to be put in place to ease the stressful process of registration. The board (JAMB) already has enough logistical and technical problems to tackle.”

Ubah further said that adding more complications is counterproductive and will serve as a hindrance to young Nigerians’ desires to get into higher institutions to further their education.

Don’t make NIN an exams condition — Ekwunife

In her contribution, Senator Uche Ekwunife, PDP-Anambra Central, who noted that it was a very straightforward motion and apt, said: “The time has come for us to show concern for what is happening on students presenting NIN before they are registered for JAMB.

“Mr President, remember  that the whole of last year was taken over by COVID-19 and that restricted a lot of movement and it made it impossible for many students to have access to NIN.

“Telling our students now that they cannot register for WAEC and GCE because they do not have NIN is actually very insensitive on the part of JAMB and NECO.

“Mr President, I want to state very clearly that the awareness on NIN has not been felt. There is no public enlightenment, many people don’t even understand what  NIN stands for.

“The awareness has not been taken to the grassroots; the enlightenment has not been taken to schools; it has not been taken to universities and tertiary institutions.

“Therefore, many children and many students don’t even know the need for them to have the NIN, they don’t even know that NIN is a requirement for them to participate in NECO and GCE. Schools should not make NIN a requirement for participation in any examination.”

Parents, students laud Senate

Meanwhile, parents and prospective candidates have commended the decision of the Senate, noting that registering for the NIN should be a continuous exercise and that its linkage to the UTME was not necessary as students could still provide their numbers before graduating from schools.

Mr John Akinleye, a parent, whose child experienced difficulties in getting his NIN linked to his application, commended the Senate for their decision. Also, applicants who are still unable to link their numbers to their applications, also lauded the intervention by the Senate.

JAMB mooted the idea of the linkage last year, but had to discard it because of hiccups that trailed securing the number from the National Identification Management Commission, NIMC.

The trouble prospective candidates and their parents had been going through since it was made compulsory for registration this year is better imagined.

NIN added to registration woes — Students

Before JAMB decided to extend the registration for this year’s UTME by two weeks on account of over 600,000 prospective candidates unable to register because of NIN, prospective applicants had spent millions of naira to fruitless efforts at linking their NIN to their applications.

Victoria (other names withheld), told our correspondent that she had spent over N5,000 on airtime to link her NIN to her application.

“I don’t know if I will be able to register for the examination before time runs out. I have tried repeatedly and sent the necessary message to the code for me to get the feedback from the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, to be able to link my NIN to the application and continue the registration process.

However, what I have been getting is that the process cannot be completed.

“I have been to JAMB office where I was told the problem is not from their end but from NIMC. I have been to an accredited computer-based test centre where the people also said without the feedback from NIMC, the registration process cannot continue,” she lamented.

Jerry, another prospective candidate in Lagos, said after all the trouble he experienced in getting his NIN, linking it to the application had become a big problem.

“Every attempt made cost N50 in airtime and I have spent over N6,000 now. I went to JAMB office in Ikoyi, here in Lagos, and the queue was another issue. Eventually, I was told the issue is not from their end but from the NIMC which should do the needful.

“If I don’t get registered this year now, that is one more year of staying at home,” he lamented. JAMB Registrar, Prof. Isaq Oloyede, while announcing extension of the registration exercise last Saturday, said over 600,000 candidates are still unable to link their NIN to their applications.

The development would have deprived the agency huge revenue, and also denied many students the opportunity to secure admission to tertiary institutions.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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