Ishaq Oloyede, the registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), said effective checks have been mounted by the Federal Government against identity theft in the admission process into Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
Mr. Oloyede made this known at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday in Abuja.
He said incidents of impersonation and other forms of identity theft during the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination had dropped from 74,000 in 2019 to 4,900 in 2020, a 93 percent reduction.
According to him, the Federal Government, through the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, issued a directive mandating JAMB to transfer candidates’ biometrics to their institutions of choice.
He said the implementation of the directive will end fresh capturing of biometrics and pictures of candidates for post-UTME tests.
Mr. Oloyede said Mr. Adamu’s directive had already uncovered 657 cases of candidates whose photographs could not match the ones recorded in JAMB’s database but were currently angling to change the photographs.
He said the board had subsequently referred those who requested for change of photographs to come down to its headquarters.
He said the intention is to bring perpetrators of fraud to book.
“In previous admission exercises, certain candidates who appear in the institution for registration were different from those who actually sat the examination.
“This was possible because the institutions were taking fresh pictures and biometrics, thereby making it possible for impersonators to have a field day to ply their trade.
“In the last exercise, we insisted, as directed by the Minister of Education, that all institutions should use the already captured biometrics and pictures by the Board.
“This made it impossible for the candidates whose examinations were taken on their behalf by professional examination takers to gain admissions.”
Mr. Oloyede said the implementation of the directive had led to the arrest of one Etim Israel, a police constable, who was paraded before journalists on allegation of examination malpractice.
“Etim hired a school teacher named Emmanuel and paid him N30, 000 to write the 2020 UTME for him, while he was away on official duties.
“Luck however ran out on him when his photograph could not tally with Emmanuel’s and was forced to visit the JAMB headquarters in Abuja for rectification.
“He scored over 200 points in UTME and wanted to read fishery at the Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpaden, Mpat Enin.
“But the new measures in place will not let him dare show his face in his chosen institution as it is the picture of his impersonator that was displayed at the screening venue,” he said.
He said incidents of impersonation and other forms of identity theft during the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination had dropped from 74,000 in 2019 to 4,900 in 2020.
The JAMB boss, who said that the 4,900 cases were still high and questionable, pointed out that the drastic reduction was triggered by a process introduced by the board.
He said the process allowed officials to take a snapshot of any candidate who claimed he could not be biometrically verified compared with the picture in JAMB’s database.
“Last year, one of the steps we took was that if somebody comes to be verified for examination and he is not verified biometrically, we will ask that the candidate or the person who appears to write the exam should take a new picture and take fresh biometrics of the candidate.
“Many of the candidates were under the impression that it was an indication that we will ask them to sit for another examination; that make-up will be made for them as usual.
“But you would recall that last year, we had over 70,000 candidates in that category. That has been reduced to 4,900 this year.
“When candidates, who are impersonating were asked to subject themselves to another round of picture-taking and biometric capturing, many people had erroneously thought that was a preparation for yet another examination.
“Rather, this was to match the new data with what was obtained during the registration exercise to establish if the same person had done the original registration,” Mr. Oloyede said.