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Tears, confusion at UME centres

Posted by By EMEKA ENYINNAYA on 2008/05/18 | Views: 859 |

Tears, confusion at UME centres

Technical hitches in the registration process for Saturday’s Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) dashed the hopes of hundreds of candidates in Lagos, who could not write the examination.

• Candidates still use cell phones

Technical hitches in the registration process for Saturday’s Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) dashed the hopes of hundreds of candidates in Lagos, who could not write the examination.

Some of the candidates at various centres across the state wept profusely after futile efforts to locate their centres.

As early as 7 a.m, some candidates who had difficulties locating their centres besieged the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board’s office in Ikoyi to seek help but met only security men who could not attend to them.

While some complained that they had their centres changed at the last minute, many others said they were confused about the location of the examination town and centre.
For instance, about 10 candidates brought their slips showing: "Examination Town - Ikoyi/Victoria Island, Examination Centre: Ilemba Hausa, Ajangbadi near Okokomaiko, Lagos."
Another candidate, Ogbeka Samuel, who said he brought his form at Zenith Bank, Apapa, was given a centre at Divine Love Secondary School, Akwanga, in Plateau State.

One Rita Linus said her registration slip had no centre on it. Weeping profusely, she told Sunday Sun: "I came here (JAMB office) two weeks ago and they asked me to go after assuring that the error would be rectified. I was here again on Friday and they still told me to go. What am I going to do now?"
She was not alone as some other candidates with no centres and tens of candidates with corresponding registration numbers as well as others who could not register after buying forms and scratch cards were asked to go to Eko-Atete Grammar School, Campus Square, Lagos. But they were not allowed into the premises by security operatives.

Later, a large army of angry and disappointed candidates gathered outside the gate, some weeping uncontrollably and rolling on the ground.
However, Mr. Abdulrasaq Lawal, a director in JAMB, who monitored the examination in Ikoyi and Victoria Island centres, blamed those he said defrauded candidates in the name of filling forms for them.
"This is not a JAMB problem," he maintained.
The Board’s Public Relations Officer, Chinwe Ogbuka, who monitored the examination in Abuja spoke in the same vein.

In a telephone interview with Sunday Sun, the PRO who was in the monitoring team led by the Registrar, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, said: "JAMB did not create the problems. Those candidates should have gone to look for their centres before the examination day."
However, despite the ban on the use of handsets or any form of communication gadgets in or around the venue of the examination, candidates were seen with handsets in the examination halls in most of the centres Sunday Sun visited.

At Kings’ College Lagos, one of the invigilators who preferred anonymity, told reporters that candidates were ordered to be thoroughly searched before being allowed into the examination halls. But some of them still smuggled their handsets into the hall to copy resumed answers sent to their handsets.
A record of 1,054,043 candidates were expected to write the examination for admission into first degree programmes in Nigerian universities for the 2008/2009 academic session in the 1,979 centres within and outside the country.

The Board, however, said in Abuja on Saturday that it would release the UME results in June.
The Registrar, Prof Dibu Ojerinde, told newsmen shortly after the conduct of the exams in Abuja that the exercise had been a great success.
"Our target is to release the results three weeks from now," he said.
Ojerinde said the introduction of e-registration for candidates had eliminated difficulties encountered in the past.

He said the introduction of a device to demobilise phones and other communication systems had also helped in curtailing malpractices among candidates.
Four candidates were disqualified in various centres in Abuja after they reported late for the exam.
They are Mary Elijah, Jane Nwokebebu, Salihu Nathaniel and an unnamed lady.

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