Exam cheats to WAEC, NECO
‘Forgive us our sins’; ‘Why we won’t’
By GABRIEL DIKE
This sounds unbelievable but it is a fact. Several born-again Christians who sought for restitution from the management of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) are reluctant to return the certificates they acquired through fraudulent means years back.Investigations by Education Review revealed that after receiving letters from those seeking for restitution following their new found faith, the managements of WAEC and NECO wrote back, asking them to return the certificates they acquired fraudulently but none has so far complied with the directive.
The two examination bodies noted with indignation that every year, their offices were usually bombarded with letters from candidates who now claim to be born-again Christians, asking them for forgiveness for not abiding with bodies code of conduct.
Sources close to the two exam bodies confirmed that the letters are usually unsolicited for, stating that they normally contain the particulars of the person seeking restitution, as well as what happened during the exam and concluded by asking for ‘forgiveness’ from the exam bodies.
It was stated that WAEC and NECO receive over 40 of such letters monthly just as they are referred to the appropriate departments for ratification. It was gathered that on receipt of such letters, the councils would write the culprits appreciating their sincerity in acknowledging their “sins” and urge them to return the certificates. But the sour point, according to senior officials of WAEC and NECO, is that almost all of them would not comply or pick their calls again as only a few are bold enough to return the certificates, thereafter, seeking for forgiveness for cheating during examinations.
“Every month, we receive about 20 letters from our former candidates. And, you know, this is not the only place they submit such letters. So, if we add all the letters from our various offices, we will have over 35 correspondences per month.
And we immediately request such persons to send back the certificates for cancellation. Very many of such born-again Christians after our letters do not respond nor pick our calls. Only few genuinely return their certificates”, the WAEC source noted.
The Registrar and Chief Executive of NECO, Prof Promise Okpala, stated that the dilemma faced by the council when the culprits write the council seeking for contrition is their refusal to return the certificates and nor picking of calls by those that include their phone numbers in the particulars they submitted to the examination body. Prof Okpala, who views the action of the former candidates in seeking for penitence after years of writing as a welcome development, noted that the body ought not to be blamed for the fraud. He said, “during the exam, our personnel cannot be everywhere. Even when they are bold enough to write us and we demand for the return of our certificates, most of them don’t return the certificates.
Do they expect the council to just write and tell them that their crime is forgiven without returning the certificates? Of course, this is not possible. Since they confessed cheating during examination, they must equally return the certificates for cancellation”. The Registrar of WAEC, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae, said that some candidates who at one point or the other had sat for WASC have come to the office to confess their sin during exams. According to him, “I may not correctly tell you the figures but the fact remains that we have so many cases of born-again Christians that have returned certificates due to what most of them admit as examination malpractice. At our meetings, National Examination Council (NEC) which we hold twice a year, we always report to the committee the number of such candidates who returned their certificates.
“Some have graduated but because they have become born-again, they come forward to submit their certificates. But there are some of them we will ask to return the certificates; some will not come forward again when they receive such information from us. We normally cancel such certificates’’.
Both Okpala and Uwadiae, declined comments on what would happen to those that used the NECO and WAEC certificates to acquire additional certificates (degrees) from higher institutions nor did they explain what would happen to others that wrote requesting for restitution but refuse to return their certificates when the exam bodies demanded for them. General Overseer of Faith Revival Apostolic Church (FRAC), Idimu, Lagos, Apostle Paul Adenuga, acknowledged that born-again Christians did the right thing as recommended by the Bible in seeking for restitution from exam bodies.
He described the development as a positive sign of true repentance and called on other candidates who cheated during examinations to emulate the attitude of such people to confess and even return their certificates.
On those who wrote letters asking for restitution but failed to return the certificates on demand, Apostle Adenuga said such persons are scared of the consequences that might follow their action. According to him, “ To the best of my knowledge, those candidates who have confessed but are yet to return their certificates are afraid of what will happen to their jobs, other degrees and status they acquired using the WAEC or NECO certificates, their position in the society and reactions from colleagues or church members”.
A Senior Pastor at Christ Revival Mission, Isolo, Lagos, Pastor Sanya Olumuyiwa, commended the born-again Christians for having the courage to seek for restitution from WAEC and NECO after several years they wrote the exam, stressing that the Bibile is clear about sinners asking for forgiveness.
Pastor Olumuyiwa even urged the two exam bodies to give such persons reward for coming forward to confess and agreeing to return the certificates they acquired illegally some years back. But he came hard on those who chickened out when asked to return the certificates, even as he warned that the process of restitution which they initiated is not complete until they return the document.
He advised those that have used the certificates to acquire additional certificates to write the tertiary institutions and seek for full repentance. He noted that God will not forgive them if the chain is not complete noting, that the society should embrace such persons rather than chastise them.
The Proprietor of Best International College, Ibadan, Chief M. L. Odetola, said the return of certificates by those who acquired them illegally is acceptable in the Bible even as he insisted that a lot needs to be done to ensure WAEC and NECO conduct hitch-free examinations and those found to have cheated be sanctioned based on the rules and regulations.