About 600,000 prospective candidates yet to receive codes, JAMB, NIMC Keeps mum

………….Registration Agents on exploitation spree

Barely less than 48 hours to the deadline for the registration of the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), about 600,000 prospective candidates are yet to receive the required unique national identification number (NIN) codes to be ‘transported’ to their mobile lines for profile update.

Over the years, prospective UTME candidates have experienced issues ranging from registration, writing the examination and checking results all attributed to flaws from JAMB.

The 2021 UTME is likely to be worse following the compulsory use of the national identification number as a pre-requisite for the examination.

According to report, roughly 72 hours to the May 15 deadline set by the examination body, only 1,012,000 candidates have so far registered for the UTME and about 30,000 candidates for the programme.

This figure is low when compared to about 1.9 million UTME and 200,000 DE candidates already captured within the same period in 2020.

As at Wednesday about 600,000 prospective candidates, who have initiated the registration process, are yet to receive the required codes meant to be transported to their mobile lines by the network operators.

A prospective candidate for the 2021 UTME who preferred anonymity narrating her experience with LEADING REPORTERS almost in tears stated that her code has not been sent to her, she cannot wait till next year and the registration is almost closing.

She further revealed that one of the officials of the network provider when approached on the issue demanded one thousand naira from her to fast track the process which she quickly paid but was not sure if he actually did anything when the code was sent two days after.

Some officials of the examination body, who preferred anonymity claiming they were not authorised to speak on the matter, said the problem is caused by the adoption of the mandatory use of NIN for the registration.

“The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) that is responsible for the issuance of NIN is expected to generate the linked number to be transported to candidates as soon as they input their required USSD code. But this has been difficult for the agency due largely to inadequate manpower and lack of required technical skill,” one of the sources told our reporter on the phone.

NIMC

Another source blamed the mobile telecommunication operators for the delayed response to transporting codes generated to candidates, saying this is the worst outing being recorded by JAMB since the adoption of the USSD system in its registration.

Some ad hoc staffers of the examination body, who were meant to register using the same procedure ahead of the examination, have also expressed frustration in their attempts to be registered for the exercise.

“We keep sending the codes to 55019 as instructed by JAMB but the response is always that it is being processed and that we should await SMS. But the SMS never comes even after more than 48 hours. I can now imagine the problem the prospective candidates are going through,”

Meanwhile, the director of public affairs and protocol for the examination body, Fabian Benjamin, refused to comment on the matter.

It would be recalled that JAMB had earlier scheduled its mock examination for April 30 but later rescheduled it to hold on May 20. The abrupt change might not be unconnected with the difficulties being experienced in the registration exercise.

Meanwhile, a highly placed source in the agency who does not want to be mentioned stated that the best solution would have been to waive the use of NIN for candidates.

“If we do that, I can assure you that in two days the whole exercise would be completed. But we cannot because the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy was impressed by our efforts and has even written appreciation to our supervising ministry and also to the federal executive council. So we cannot backtrack on that for now,” the source said.

The examination body is billed to meet with ‘stakeholders’ including members of various groups such as civil societies and media ahead of the examination.

JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede One of such meetings is billed to hold on Friday, May 14, where the JAMB registrar, Is-haq Oloyede, is expected to address the groups.

Meanwhile, the mobile network operators have denied being responsible for the challenges being faced by candidates in their efforts to be registered for the examination.

The operators’ umbrella body- Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria (ALTON) said its role is ”simply to transport the codes to the candidates and not to generate”.

The association’s chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, said the delays cannot be from the systems of the telecommunication companies.

“Telecommunication companies don’t manage the process of generating the code for candidates, we only provide the “transport” access to their servers and we rely on the examinations agency to generate the code. We don’t manage their database and as such we’re not responsible for generating the said examination code,” Mr. Adebayo said.

When confronted with the claim of the existing generated codes”yet to be transported”, Mr Adebayo said; “If the codes are generated and their servers do not upload them to the operators, there would be nothing on the link to deliver.

Operators are just a medium of transport, and if their servers don’t deliver the codes, the link (transport) will be empty. Maybe there’s something they’re not saying. Ask them again and let them show a proof!”

When reached for reaction, the authorities at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) also refuse to respond.

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