As impersonation drops from 74,000 to 4,900 in 2020
BY ROSEMARY OGBONNAYA, ABUJA – Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Ishaq Oloyede, says the Federal Government has mounted effective checks against incidents of identity theft in the admission process into Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
This is as he also disclosed that incidents of impersonation and other forms of identity theft during the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), has dropped from 74,000 in 2019 to 4,900 in year 2020.
Oloyede said the government, through the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu issued a directive, mandating JAMB to transfer candidates’ biometric data to their institutions of choice, thus ending fresh capturing of biometrics and pictures of candidates for post-UTME tests.
Speaking at a media briefing in Bwari, Abuja, Prof Oloyede said the Minister’s directive has already uncovered 657 cases of candidates, whose photographs could not match the ones recorded in JAMB’s database and were currently angling to change the photographs.
According to him, JAMB has advised those requesting change of photographs to report at its headquarters, with the intention of bringing perpetrators of fraudulent practices to book.
He said; “In previous admission exercises, certain candidates who appear in the institution for registration were different from those who actually sit the examination. This was possible because the institutions were taking fresh pictures and biometrics thereby making it possible for impersonators to have a field day to ply their trade.
“In the last exercise, we insisted, as directed by the Hon. Minister of Education, that all institutions should use the already captured biometrics and pictures by the Board. This made it impossible for the candidates whose examinations were taken on their behalf by professional examination takers to gain admissions,” he said.
He stated that by implementing the government’s directive, a police constable with the Akwa Ibom State Division, one Etim Israel, was arrested and paraded before newsmen on allegation of examination malpractice.
Reports said Etim had hired a school teacher, named Emmanuel and paid him N30,000 to write the 2020 UTME for him while he was away on official duties.
However, luck ran out on the imposter when his photograph could not tally with Emmanuel’s and was forced to visit the JAMB headquarters in Abuja for rectification.
Etim scored over 200 points in UTME and wanted to read fishery at the Akwa Ibom state University, Ikot Akpaden Mpat Enin, but the new measures in place would not let him dare show his face in his chosen institution as it is the picture of his impersonator that would be displayed at the screening venue.
A sober looking Etim admitted having learnt his lessons and will cooperate with the police for a thorough investigation that would lead to the arrest of Emmanuel who had fled from his home after getting hints that the police are on his trail to arrest him.
On reduction of identity theft in the UTME process, the JAMB Registrar, who admitted that the 4,900 cases were still high and questionable, however said the drastic reduction was triggered by a process introduced by the Board allowing officials to take a snapshot of any candidate claiming he could not be biometrically verified, and compare with the picture in JAMB’s database.
“Last year, one of the steps we took was that if somebody comes to be verified for examination and he is not verified biometrically, we will ask that the candidate or the person who appears to write the exam should take a new picture and take fresh biometrics of the candidate.
“Many of the candidates were under the impression that that was an indication that we would ask them to sit for another examination; that a make-up would be made for them as usual. But you would recall that last year, we had over 70,000 candidates in that category. But that has been reduced to 4,900 this year.
“When candidates who are impersonating were asked to subject themselves to another round of picture-taking and biometric capturing, many people had erroneously thought that was a preparation for yet another examination.
“Rather this was to match the new data with what was obtained during the registration exercise to establish if the same person had done the original registration.”
He said surprisingly, the measure revealed attempts by some of the candidates to impersonate as many of them had registered while a different set would surface to sit the examination.
“Thanks to the pictures and biometrics captured during registration which revealed that what was displayed was different from what was captured at the examination venue”, the JAMB Boss stated