JAMB denies targeting Baptist Girls Academy

The Registrar and Chief Executive of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, has refuted claims that the Baptist Girls Academy, Lagos was targeted during his inspection visit to some centres in Lagos of the ongoing 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration.

The Board explained that the issue of Baptist Girls Academy, Lagos only came during an interview with journalists while on a routine inspection of the registration exercise in South-West as is the tradition of the Board to tour the registration centres.

Head, Public Affairs and Protocol of JAMB, Dr Fabian Benjamin, in a statement, on Sunday, in Abuja, said the attention of the Board has been drawn to some misconceptions making the rounds on the encounter of the JAMB Registrar, Oloyede, with a group of students, including some from the Baptist Girls Academy, Lagos.

He said: “The board wishes to correct the erroneous impression that Baptist Girls Academy was specifically targeted by the board during the Registrar’s inspection tour.

“The Registrar was on a scheduled inspection of the ongoing 2021 UTME registration exercise in the South-West. As in the tradition of all Board’s Chief Executives, he came to assess the performance of the exercise across the geopolitical zones.

“On getting to Lagos, he held a press conference after which he proceeded to JKK Computer-Based Test Centre, one of the Board’s approved UTME Registration centres to assess the registration there.

“He was accompanied on the visit by over 30 representatives of the leading media houses in the country. At JKK CBT centre, he had an interview session during which one of the journalists sought to know why some centres and perhaps schools were charging higher fees than the prescribed fee by the Board.

“Another wanted to know what the Board was doing to avoid the prevailing mismatch of candidates data. That is the essential details of one candidate being transferred to another.

“The Registrar, in his response, explained that the issue of mismatched data occurred as a result of group registration by the authorities of some elite schools who collect huge sums of money from parents in the name of helping them to facilitate their wards’ registration.

“He stated that the Board was against this practice as its examination is not a group-based exercise like that of West African Examination Council (WAEC) or National Examination Council (NECO). As such, he said candidates are expected to register individually,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin further explained that on the alleged collection of higher fees above the prescribed fee, the Registrar said he was not aware of any large-scale extortion going on anywhere other than the exception of some elite secondary schools who are in the habit of illegitimately collecting money in the name of the Board.

According to him, while the interview was ongoing the journalists spotted a group of students and drew the attention of the Registrar to them insinuating that they could be among those involved in group registration.

The Registrar was said to have invited them to come and meet him and the students who said they were from Baptist Academy said they had paid N8000 to their school for the 2021 UTME registration even though this said to be contradicted by a teacher who said the school collected only the approved N4,700 from each student for the registration.

“Benjamin said: “However, another student who was present there contradicted him and maintained that he and his colleagues had paid N8000 and not N4700 as claimed by the teacher. The Registrar then asked if any student had paid higher and another one who also claimed to come from Baptist Girls Academy said she also paid N8000 and not N4700. The Registrar then asked the teacher to reconcile what he had asserted with what the students are disclosing.

“The Registrar, however, knowing that there are administrative channels of addressing such abnormalities called on the most senior journalist at the interview session not to publish the encounter as it should be considered an off-record incident and was given that assurance by all the reporters through their senior colleague.

“However, to the Registrar’s surprise, the promise was not kept as the report had subsequently found its way to the public domain.

“The Board would want to dissuade the public from misinterpreting this happenstance. It should be noted that the Board had, on some occasions, cause to also sanction faith-based schools located in the Northern part of the country with no eyebrows raised from any quarter.

“The Board wishes to reiterate that it had always been its core policy to sanction any school that collects a dime above the approved UTME fee particularly when such exercise is linked to the Board’s hard-earned name and integrity.

“It does so without any fear or favour of any religious or ethnic group,” he said.

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