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JAMB uncovers 706,189 illegal admissions

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has uncovered 706, 189 illegal admissions by universities, colleges of education, polytechnics aby the nd other institutions.

The illegal admissions were disclosed on Wednesday by JAMB’s Registrar Ishaq Oloyede.

He said the illegality was perpetrated by public and private higher institutions across the six geopolitical zones.

According to him, 114 universities account for 67,795 of the illegal admissions; 489,918 in 137 polytechnics; 142,818 in 80 Colleges of Education and 5,678 in 37 other institutions.

The ‘hidden’ admissions, which Oloyede said were unknown to JAMB as prescribed by law, were perpetrated from 2017 to 2020 by the affected institutions.

The Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu has agreed to a plea by JAMB for a last chance for the violators, Oloyede said during a consultative/sensitisation meeting with stakeholders in Abuja.

He said the institutions disregarded JAMB’s Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) which allows institutions to “only admit candidates that met the requirements.”

He said vice chancellors, rectors and provosts of the affected institutions’ have admitted their mistakes by “sending a formal letter of confession and disclosure to the JAMB Registrar.”

The list of the 114 universities indicted for illegal admissions was presented to the stakeholders.

The JAMB registrar said: “As a measure of mopping up the backlog of improperly admitted candidates, the Honourable Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, assented to the Board’s plea for a last chance for the violators.

“He also approved the caveat that the culprits should, first and foremost, declare the number of candidates admitted outside CAPS between 2017 and 2020 by sending a formal letter of confession and disclosure to the JAMB Registrar.

“Those minimally qualified would then be condoned to put an end to the period and finally put the matter to rest.

“The Board was then directed to launch massive campaigns to educate the public against accepting such illegal admissions henceforth.”

Ruling out another opportunity for illegal admissions by institutions of higher learning, Oloyede said the illegality had hindered the future of many graduates and it was time to stop it.

He added: “The graduates of the illegitimate process need admission letters to pursue post-graduation endeavours like housemanship, scholarship, enrolment into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), among others, they are out of sync.

“Some candidates had been forced in the past to seek direct entry into other universities after graduation just because their degrees were not recognised as a result of lack of admission letters at critical stages.

“The physical, psychological and mental strain of such candidates is better imagined than experienced. This could have been avoided if everyone played the game according to the rules.

“The Board is then constrained to condone these illegitimate admissions through a process known as ‘condonement’ which was previously known as ‘Regularization’.

“This was done out of sympathy for the candidates and consideration of the enormous resources expended on the training of such candidates.

“Thus, the Board was condoning all these infractions in admissions conducted prior till 2017. It is note-worthy that the lawlessness is perpetrated in institutions across the six geopolitical zones of the country.”

Oloyede also claimed that some university lecturers were recently arrested for engaging in massive fraud associated with ‘A Level’ examinations by Joint Universities Preliminary Examinations Board (JUPEB) and Interim Joint Matriculation Board.

He added: “As a moderator of the two ‘A Level entrance examinations in Nigeria, Joint Universities Preliminary Examinations Board(JUPEB) and Interim Joint Matriculation Board Examination(IJMBE), the attention of the board was drawn to the massive fraud associated with the conduct of these examinations.

“It is quite disappointing that some of our colleagues were arrested while conniving with various examination syndicates to compromise the noble objectives of these two examinations.

“The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education conducted a sting operation the result of which is monumentally embarrassing.

“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, you must have been disturbed by the recent indicting release of the ICPC on the scandal in its campaign to put an end to such illegal, destructive and disruptive activities.

“The board has painstakingly taken some measures to forestall future recurrence. It has, for instance, initiated action to seek approval from the minister of Education, to establish what it refers to as the ‘A Level Task Team/ A Level Qualification and Verification Databank (ALQVD)’ as a repository for verified A/L qualifications in Nigeria.

“I am privileged to know that the Federal Ministry of Education is considering further necessary action on the matter. As soon as the appropriate approvals are secured, we would reach out to you for assistance.”

On the unethical and unacceptable practices by Computer-Based Testing (CBT) Centres, he said: ”Fourthly, the review of our registration process has shown some unethical and unacceptable practices by Computer-Based Testing (CBT) Centres.

“These centres are allowed to collect only Seven Hundred Naira (#700.00) as registration charges but they use the opportunity to engage in conduct unbecoming, including extortion, during the exercise.

“In order to put a stop to such extortion, we propose to make UTME registration henceforth cashless. In other words, JAMB will now be collecting the approved N700.00 registration fee on behalf of the CBT Centres along with its UTME registration fees and then remit what is due to each registration centre to its bank account on a weekly basis or any timeframe acceptable to the centre owners.

“This intervention will block all loopholes through which hapless candidates are extorted by unscrupulous service providers.”

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Fuel Subsidy Removal: Don’t paralyse Nigeria’s economy – PFN warns Buhari government

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President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Francis Wale Oke has cautioned the Nigerian Government against further aggravating the suffering of Nigerians through the proposed fuel subsidy removal.

He said the removal of fuel subsidy will lead to hikes in the prices of petroleum products.

In a release issued on Sunday by his Media Office, Oke warned that the implementation of such a policy could increase the hardship currently being experienced by the people of the country.

He lamented that prices of consumables and other items were increasingly getting out of reach of the people, noting that if the proposed subsidy removal is done, it would worsen the hardship of the people of the nation.

“Everybody will feel it, particularly the underprivileged. The negative effects will surely outweigh the positive. The cost of transportation for humans and goods across the country will skyrocket and other things connected which will have a spiral effect on the general living standard of the populace; the suffering will be multi-dimensional. Please, let all stakeholders be sensitive to this avoidable path and do the needful,” he said.

Oke said the situation has become worrisome due to the reduction in the purchasing power of Nigerians caused by the continuous fall in the value of the nation’s currency at the exchange market.

The PFN president, therefore, admonished the government to do all it could to revive the four ailing refineries in the country, with a view to ensuring they operate at an optimal level for a lasting benefit for the country and its people.

“By whatever means, let the Federal Government put its heart into ensuring that our refineries are back to life. In addition, in order to stem the rising cost of living, farmers and others connected to them should be encouraged. This is what can help our economy,” the cleric said.

While maintaining that the Christian body would always support policies that would enhance good governance, he urged the government to put in place tangible palliative measures that could ameliorate the hardship being experienced.

“Without begging the issue, there should be well-defined palliative measures in place that can cushion the effect of the hardship being experienced by Nigerians, especially the commoners. One is not talking about political palliatives that never last. We have seen enough of such,” he said.

Continuing, the bishop pointed out that “an increase in the price of petroleum from its present N165 to N340 per litre can trigger tension and crises in the country which in turn can paralyse our economy if not handled with utmost care”.

On the proposed N5,000 to be paid to about 40 million poor Nigerians by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to ameliorate the effects of the planned fuel subsidy removal, Oke asserted that “Again, the planned introduction of N5,000 for 40 million poor Nigerians is to create a cesspool of corruption. How do you define ‘the poor’? They, mostly, don’t use telephones. They, mostly, don’t have bank accounts. How will the money get to them?”

The renowned cleric advised the government to be wary of policies that could jeopardise the conduct of the 2023 general elections, insisting that all hands must be geared towards steering the wheel of the country to a better place.

As a panacea to the rising cost of food items, the PFN President advised that farmers and relevant stakeholders should be empowered with relevant tools and funds through loans with little interest.

Meanwhile, Oke who is also the presiding Bishop of The Sword of the Spirit Ministries implored the government not to relent in its efforts at ensuring that security challenges in the country become a thing of the past.

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New COVID-19 strain: Planned visit of Ramaphosa to Nigeria raises concern

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Following the outbreak of a new strain of COVID-19 in South Africa and the travel restrictions imposed on Southern African countries by several countries, concerns have been raised over the proposed visit of the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to Nigeria.

Barring any last-minute change, President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to receive Ramaphosa and other top government functionaries of his administration, who are scheduled to undertake a three-day visit to Nigeria between November 29 and December 1.

South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases had revealed that there were 22 positive cases linked to the new strain of COVID-19, adding that the percentage testing positive was “increasing quickly”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the strain identified as B.1.1.529 as a “variant of concern” and named it “Omicron.”
The heavily-mutated new variant has so far been detected in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong.

This development has prompted the ban of travellers from Southern African countries by the 27-member European Union (EU), and the United States, Britain, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and UAE.

The EU’s executive “will propose, in close coordination with member states, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529,” EU chief, Ursula Von der Leyen, had tweeted on Friday.

The EU countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

The US announced on Friday that it would be restricting travel from eight southern African countries over fears of the new variant, which some had expected to be named Nu but which has now been dubbed Omicron.

Travel would be mostly banned starting Monday (tomorrow) from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi, a senior official in President Joe Biden’s administration, had reportedly said
However, only US citizens and permanent residents will still be able to travel from the eight countries.

Canada also banned travellers from seven African countries – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe – over concerns about the variant.
The United Kingdom had also placed South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe on its red list, which means that direct flights from the six countries were banned from Friday until Sunday (today) at 4 am.

Passengers arriving from these countries from today, at 4 am, would have to book and pay for a government-approved hotel quarantine facility for 10 days.

Ramaphosa’s planned visit has raised concerns in Nigeria following the new strain of COVID-19.
“What is the federal government’s dilemma over the visit? Is Nigeria going to receive the South African President and other officials when other countries are banning travellers from South Africa? Is the federal government going to tell them not to come? Under what structure are they going to come?” a top official of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) queried.

The visit will be President Ramaphosa’s first visit to Nigeria in his official capacity as the substantive president since he was elected some three years ago.

He had visited Nigeria in 2018, as the acting president, following the exit of former President Jacob Zuma from office.
There are about 120 South African firms in Nigeria, including the telecommunication giant, MTN, DSTV whose parent company, Multichoice, remains the number one leading player in the cable TV ecosystem in the country.
However, only a few Nigerian firms are operating in South Africa.

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COVID-19: FG directs all civil servants to resume, get vaccinated

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The Federal government has directed civil servants from Grade Level 12 and below to resume work effective Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

Recall that federal civil service workers from Grade Level 12 and below had been working from home following a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.

In the now-viral circular , the directive, signed by the Head of Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, noted that beginning December 1, all Federal Government workers are requested “to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours.”

“It will be recalled that as part of the measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, Officers on GL 12 and below were directed to work from home. Following the advice of the PSC on COVID-19, this category of officers are expected to resume duties on Wednesday, 1st December 2021,” the circular reads in part

Recall that the chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had earlier announced that beginning December 1, 2021 all Federal Government employees will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or present a negative PCR result to gain access to their offices.

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