By Gabriel Dike

Registrar of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Ishaq Oloyede, has defended the decision of the board to reduce the number of Computer-Based Test (CBTs) centres nationwide for the conduct of the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

Oloyede explained that it would be better to have few centres to conduct the UTME than having large number that are substandard or aiding malpractice. 

“The reduction in the number will not in any way hinder applicants from registering for the examination. We have made provisions to register at least 100,000 candidates daily and, so far, the highest figure we have got for a day is about 65,000. So, we have the capacity to register over 1.8 million candidates.

“As for writing the examination, there are enough provisions for all candidates to sit for it. If peradventure, an examination does not start one hour after the scheduled time, such will be cancelled. The operators of the centre would be in contact with us and before the candidates leave the venue, another day and time for the examination would be scheduled.”

Oloyede used the opportunity to warn agents selling the personal identification number (PIN) for the 2023 UTME, not to sell above the approved amount since provisions have been made to compensate them.

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The JAMB boss disclosed this in Lagos while monitoring the ongoing UTME registration exercise in some centres. He revealed that as at last Friday, the board paid over N300 million to the vendors as commission.

During the monitoring, Oloyede announced the suspension of two agents, Parkway Project and Digital Partners, for selling the PIN to candidates at fees higher than the approved N5,700 and that the Board would not condone extortion in any guise.

“Every agent is paid five per cent of the whole amount charged, which is N5,700 and the board is surprised that some are selling the PIN for N6,500 or more. That is unacceptable. Every Friday, we pay the agents their commission and as at last Friday, we have paid over N300 million to them,” Oloyede said.

According to him, as at Tuesday, 533,048 applicants had registered for the UTME. 

On why the Board reintroduced possessing personal electronic mail addresses by candidates as compulsory, Oloyede said it was to make Nigeria and Nigerians toe global trends.

He explained that the board stopped that practice years ago because some agents were extorting candidates and that now enough steps have been taken to curtail that, adding, moreover, students who are passing out of secondary schools are old enough to have electronic mail addresses and it is cheaper to communicate with them through that medium than sending text messages.