The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) has uncovered massive cyber fraud and irregularities in the ongoing registration for the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination(UTME), with the fate of hundreds of candidates who are victims hanging in the balance.
Operators of the 38 registration centres and their accomplices indicted by JAMB for various infractions were nabbed on Wednesday in Abuja and handed over to the police for prosecution.
The Board also retrieved about 48 laptops used by the suspects to commit cyber fraud as evidence against them. The laptops were confiscated when the crack teams from the Board were deployed to the registration centres across the country.
The suspects were lured to Abuja under the guise of a meeting with the management of JAMB at its headquarters, Bwari. Unknown to them that they were on their way to cool their feet in the police net, Oloyede handed them over to the waiting officers after long hours of interrogation.
The JAMB boss said prima facie case had been established against them and that the onus was on them to prove their innocence during prosecution in the court of law by the police.
Some of them were accused of extending the Virtual Private Network (VPN) of JAMB allocated to the accredited Computer Based Test (CBT) Centres to some cyber cafe operators for the purpose of illegal registration of candidates for the 2020 UTME.
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JAMB also discovered that some of the suspects created fictitious user names and National Identity Number (NIN), which the Board set as a prerequisite for anyone that would participate in the registration exercise and conduct of the 2020 UTME.
Oloyede explained that the implication of the extension of VPN to remote areas was that the candidates who register in the illegal outlets would not be able to verify their biometric on the examination day, and as such would not be allowed to sit for the examination.
The JAMB Registrar had warned that candidates whose biometric could not be verified would not be allowed to sit for the examination.
He berated the University of Uyo, for engaging ad hoc staff for the purpose of UTME registration at its PTDF E-Resource Centre, saying it was wrong for a Federal University to be involved in irregularities.
During cross-examination, a staff of the University who was among those handed over to the police said ad hoc staff were engaged by the University who brought in their laptops from homes for the purpose registration of candidates, claiming that the University was not aware that the process was compromised.
Oloyede said: “It is important for us to educate the public; an average parent does not want the child to queue even for 10 minutes. They will prefer that they go and pay these people extra money and they will claim to have done it for them not knowing the incalculable damage they are doing to their own children.
“Even if we have destroyed our own generation, let the incoming generation have the opportunity of building a better tomorrow for us. That is our position,” he said.
He appealed to candidates and their parents to go through the normal process, stressing that all the candidates that have been defrauded knew that they were not registering at the right place.
He also urged other CBT centres to keep within the regulation, saying the Board would continue to sanction and blacklist centres found to have committed infractions.