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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

FACT-CHECK: Is JAMB extorting candidates over multiple charges as alleged

On the 23rd of March 2022, the Nigerian House of Representatives made a resolution to probe the alleged imposition of multiple processing and administration fees by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), and its accredited agents on candidates.

The resolution was adopted after a motion by Sergius Ogun, a member of the PDP from Edo State, was raised at the plenary in Abuja. 

In his motion, Ogun said section 88(1) and (2) of the constitution empowers the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws.

He added that in recent times, in addition to the registration fees for the examination, all sorts of processing and administrative fees were imposed on JAMB examination candidates.

He noted that for every other service, apart from the JAMB registration provided in relation to the examination, an administrative fee is imposed by JAMB.
Ogun added that this does not include the Computer Based Test (CTB), centre service charge collected by JAMB accredited CBT centers.

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He listed some of the charges to include: Application for transfer N7,000, change of admission letter with registration number N5,000 and application for correction of data N2,500.

Other charges according to him include: Printing of JAMB Result Slip N1,000, printing of JAMB admission letter N1,000, change of Institution/Course N2,500 and retrieving of JAMB Registration Number N1,000.

JAMB's Response

In a swift response, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, expressed displeasure with the House of Representatives, saying the House resolution to probe the board activities was in bad faith.

The Registrar claimed that the legislator’s action was meant to discourage the board from going ahead with the good work it was doing.

Oloyede stated, “As regards the resolution of the House, I will not want to talk about it, we feel that the purpose was to discourage us, but we won’t be discouraged. I believe I should not talk about it until we are invited. It’s an allegation but we expected that an allegation that would come from the House would be something solid and based on facts.”

“So I am a bit disappointed that somebody could use absolute falsehood to embarrass us. If it is the intention, as we expect it is to discourage us from doing what we are doing, we will not be deterred, we expect Nigerians to know when their representatives are doing what is right and what is not right, I can’t say more than that for now.”

Oloyede in JAMB, any achievements?

Professor Oloyede, who is also the Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, was appointed JAMB Registrar in August 2016. After his 5 years tenure, Prof. Oloyede was reappointed in August 2021. 

The former University Don reinforced the Computer-Based Test (CBT) and registered over a million candidates as against the 1,500 expected in the first three weeks. Despite known and seemingly insurmountable loopholes in digitalizing any part of government processes, JAMB registered 1, 736, 571 candidates for the 2017 UTME for 624 centres nationwide. It exceeded the estimated number of candidates by nearly 250,000 candidates. 

Since Oloyede assumed office, JAMB has recorded giant stride in terms of generating money to the coffers of the Federal Government. The total amount JAMB remitted to the federal government coffers between 2010 and 2016 was recorded to be N50,752,544. This is about one percent of the N5 ‎billion the agency remitted to the federal government in 2017 alone when Professor Oloyede took office.

JAMB and remittance

JAMB is not a revenue-generating agency but under Prof Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB remitted over N30bn to the Federal Government purse, (Between 2016-2021) an amount far above what was generated by the Board in its 40 years of existence, before Oloyede came on board.

Out of curiosity, one would ask how the money was generated. This question took us to the website of JAMB and its payment services. 

JAMB PRICE SERVICES

Notably, JAMB’s annual remittances to the Federal Government under Oloyede rival the yearly profit before tax of some banks. The growing figures of the Board have ranked it in the league of top government agencies with high remittances. They include the Federal Inland Revenue Service, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigerian Customs Service and the Department of Petroleum Resources, amongst others.

Oloyede has also expressed his thoughts regarding making huge remittances to the government when the money can be used to directly develop the education sector.

“It isn’t the best though where you have billions of naira and you return it back to the government. It is not the best. But that is the legal framework we have to work with. A better stage can be to go to similar institutions around the world where they fund themselves and extend it (the money) to tertiary institutions directly by identifying their needs and supporting them,” Oloyede said.

Any case of extortion?

The review of the payment services of JAMB many springs up the assumption of extortion to an average Nigerian where everyone is fact turning to a “local government” of his own.

As a fresh JAMB Candidate with no correction issue, they would have to pay for the following;

  1. UTME Registration fee – 3,500 Naira + 700 Naira as service charge = 4,200
  2. Jamb Result – 1,000 Naira + 100 Naira Service charge = 1,100
  3. Admission Letter – 1,000 Naira + 100 Naira Service charge = 1,100

Total payment expected from the most luckiest JAMB Candidate is 6,400

Averagely many may not describe this as extortion but may persuade the body to explore reduction just as palliatives or incentives, since jamb is not a revenue-generating agency as argued by many stakeholders. 

The second aspect of this payment service is having issues with correction or the need to change information on the candidates portal.

In this case, candidates are expected to pay a minimum of 2,600 Naira for a single “type” of error or desired changes. 

The error or changes type falls into the following category and each costs 2,600 Naira independently;

  • Change of Institution 
  • Change of Course
  • Change of Name
  • Change of Date of Birth
  • Change of State
  • Change of Local Government Area
  • Change of Gender
  • Change of A’level Qualification

Arguably, this is where the issue of extortion comes in. Payment under the error/change category would be more than the UTME Registration fee if candidates are meant to make two corrections. 

Since JAMB is not a money making Institution nor an institution struggling for finance to survive, reviewing the payment services downwards or exploring a one-time payment for all changes in an examination year will not be a bad option. 

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