Students, candidates for JAMB, WAEC examinations pass through needle’s eye


By Chibuike Okafor

Nigerians are passing through hell to be captured for National Identification Number (NIN) especially in Lagos State. 

Students and candidates for the various examinations do not find it easy, even as many of them, it was learnt, pay through their nose.

 Recently, our correspondent encountered students and candidates for the various examinations who gave a feel of what it took them to obtain their NIN.

According to what the candidates said, their ordeal is better experienced than imagined.

It is not what is believed to be out there. They lamented that agents and officials of the scheme make things difficult for people aspiring to get registered, and in the process extort them.

Master Johnson Okafor said that he got captured at Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area in Lagos State.

He told our correspondent that he went to register for his NIN as part of the conditions to enter for the university Matriculation Examination (UTME) without knowing that the exercise was fraught with stress and distress.

He recalled that he went to a NIN centre close to him only to be told that the centre had been blocked.

“When I got there, an agent asked me to come back on February 24. By then, JAMB registration must have ended.

“Then, I decided to go to Ajeromi Ifelodun local government. Immediately I hit the premises, different agents besieged me, each announcing their prices. One told me to bring N10,000. Another demanded N9,000, another N8,000. The last to approach me asked for N7,000.”

The lad noted that even the security woman at the premises also had her own price – she asked for N7,000.

He told Sunday Sun that at that juncture, he opted to go with the security woman who also informed him that signal for capturing at the centre was only received once in a week, and asked him to come back the next Wednesday.

“On that Wednesday morning, I arrived early as she directed. It was hell before I was captured.

“The officers started work at 9:00a.m. The first set of people they started calling were pregnant women. After that, some agents started bringing in their own clients,” he said.

He recalled that he waited for 10 hours before he was able to make it inside the capturing room.

“But that was not the end. When I got inside the office, I waited for additional two hours before it was my turn to be attended to.

“The process is very slow and tedious,” he recalled.

Another candidate who said that she had a rough patch doing the NIN registration was Master David Godwin.

He vowed that he would never go through the process again.

Godwin said that he got to the same Ajeromi  local government with high hopes that the process would be fast since it was electronic.

“On getting there, I met agents who raised my hope and demanded money which I paid because I needed my NIN as quickly as possible.

“To my surprise, the agent asked me to come back the next day as early as 6:00a.m. The next morning, as early as 5:00a.m, I was up. At  6:00a.m, I was ready to go to the council for the capturing.

“I was happy when I arrived there shortly before 7:00a.m. I was among the first 10 persons who were there for the same purpose.”

The lad said that he concluded that having seen  far fewer people, the exercise would be snappy and he would be going home early. But he was wrong.

“At 8:00a.m, the official had not showed up; then at about 9:00a.m, the operator sauntered in, about the time, a crowd had already formed and filled the entire arena, but I wasn’t shaken because I was the ninth person on the list the agent had.

“When the operator began work, they called the first five people. At that point, I was elated that the exercise was going to be smooth; I felt assured.

“But by 3:00p.m my turn hadn’t come; then the agents started their drama. They started to fight among themselves. ‘This is my candidate; this one is my candidate.’ ‘No, he is from a superior.’ That was what we started hearing as their voices filled the arena.”

The lad said he was dumbfounded.

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He said: “The next we heard was ‘let the pregnant and older ones come in.”

He said in spite of all that, he remained calm just like some other persons around.

“We remained there rooted on our seats as the drama continued till 8:00p.m. That was how we spent the whole day and even night there without success, without achieving anything.”

He said that as he drifted home he kept wondering how it all went down.   He was angry with himself and the system.

He said that he had to call the agent to know the next line of action and he told him to come back the next day, adding that he informed him that they now had a new list which they must surely follow this time around.

He said on the next day, he repeated as he was told.

“I saw students in uniform who came for capturing. They too were in a hurry; they wanted to enter for UTME. They were allowed to go in; but since I was not in uniform, I was not allowed in.”

He said that he concluded that there was no way he would be allowed to capture on that day. And that was how he kept going around in a cycle for days, even when they kept telling them each day that the network signal was erratic.

It kept fluctuating, coming off and on, as they were told, that the network allocated to the centre used to come twice or thrice a week.

Continuing with his story, he said that the next Saturday he went there again; he sat expecting a miracle to happen.

But he never got any as they came out to announce that their system had failed, adding that “they couldn’t do any registration till the engineer would figure it out and fix it.

“Some people got tired, angry and starting fighting. Some were arguing with their agents and demanding their money back.

“It was not funny coming every now and then and wasting money on transportation without achieving anything. It was really painful.

“I just sat thinking of what to do. JAMB deadline was approaching.

“At that hour, my agent called me to a corner and suggested that he took me to a private centre so as to make the exercise  faster.

“At that point, I was like saying ‘so this option is there since and you didn’t want to take me there; you just allowed me to keep stressing myself for a week.’”

Godwin recalled that when they went to the private centre, the agent charged him and other candidates extra money, but this time, he was not worried because he was already desperate to get his NIN.

“In all those days, I had already lost time and money yet nothing was achieved at the  council.

“At the private centre, it didn’t take up to two hours before I was captured. I later got my NIN so that I could use it to enter for UTME.”

He asked the Federal Government to do something about this challenge so that other candidates would be spared similar distress.

Another UTME candidate, Miss Ifeoma Okafor, recalled that she had similar experience when she was going for her NIN, saying it was sad.

She regretted that at some point when the process was free, she didn’t take the opportunity until she needed it.

“Some time ago, it was supposed to be free until they made it compulsory for students writing  the SSSC and UTM examinations.

“I needed mine for UTME and had to pay a whole N8,000 cash to a local government official.

“But despite the payment, I still went through hell to get captured.

“On each occasion, I went to the local government at about 7:00a.m every day before I was attended to.

“They usually started capturing at 9:00a.m; they always told me to go and stand at a corner assuring me I would be attended to next in no time.

“During one of the days, I stood for seven  hours waiting to be captured even when I arrived there before everyone else. They kept attending to those who offered money.”

She said that students who were desperate to register for UTME that year had a hard time getting captured before JAMB registration closed.

“At some point, they will say old people go in first, forgetting that students who needed it badly were waiting. They will just come out to give you hope.”