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The Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board , Prof Is -haq Oloyede , speaks on the conduct of the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination so far and other issues in this interview with OLALEYE ALUKO
The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination started last Saturday ; and there were hitches . What would be your general assessment?
So far , it has been good except that there were some human factors . On Monday , we had what I can call an administrative error . That Monday was the second day of the examination and many technical officers , instead of entering 201 , that is , second day , first session , they continued with the previous numbering , using 103 . So it took some time before we could understand what was happening and when we did , we rectified it and reversed to 201 instead of 103 or 203 they had entered .
I think that was the major hitch . Yes, we had examination malpractices but they have reduced. We are now also having new dimensions of malpractices whereby people boldly impersonate others. This is because they could not engage in most of the malpractices they were engaging in before. Now , you have a man impersonating a woman and so on and so forth . We believe we will also address these challenges.
We want to find out how people were able to boldly impersonate others , how a man was able to impersonate a woman ; but we are going to deal with that . Apart from what happened on Monday which was a hitch , we have 666 Computer – Based Test Centres and so far , only six of them were not able to function . We have therefore delisted and blacklisted them .
Some candidates have alleged that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board posted them to examination centres and towns far away from their homes . Why is this so?
You see , many people misinterpret what we call examination towns. No candidate is posted to a town other than the town they had chosen at the time of registration . But what constitutes an examination town is another thing . For example , I am not familiar with Abuja because I am a stranger in Abuja, so let me use Lagos , Ogun or others as examples .
In the past, Lagos Island , Lekki, Ikoyi used to be separate examination towns. But we discovered that some CBT centres connived with some candidates or their parents , largely their parents to engage in malpractice . They would plan ahead with those centres to engage in exam malpractice because they were sure their candidates were going to take their exam in those places . So , what we have now done is to widen the examination town in such a way that in Lagos , for example , you can ’t see Yaba , Lekki or Ikoyi standing alone . You will rather have Lagos Mainland as an examination town. Candidates can then be posted to any of the centres on the Lagos Mainland .
Then you also have Lagos Island as an examination town where you have Ikoyi , Lekki and the rest . It is only Badagry , Epe and Ikorodu that we have taken individually as examination towns.
Also for example , on your way to Lagos from Ibadan , you have Mowe , Ibafo and other areas . Mowe and Ibafo used to be one examination town and we have just two CBT centres in both of them , so candidates knew that they would be in either of the two and they could connive with the centres for malpractices . But now, we have merged Mowe , Ibafo with Sagamu and Magboro and all those places , so that once you pick that bloc, you can go to any of the centres in it.
It is to widen the size of the examination town. It is done in such a way that candidates would have to go and speak to four or more CBT centres before they can prearrange to engage in examination malpractices . So , we are not posting people arbitrarily . I challenge anybody to print out the registration slip of their child and see where the child was posted to. You can never find anywhere other than within the place that the candidate has chosen.
You mentioned that six out of your CBT centres had hitches during the UTME and have been blacklisted. What will happen to the candidates affected by those centres ?
They have been redistributed . We have moved the candidates out . They were told at the venues that these centres had failed . We had one in Oyo , one in Imo , one in Gombe and so on . But unlike what we used to do when we would move them and say , write the exam tomorrow , this time , we say no , we want to give them two or three days so that nobody will say I did not receive the text message . We are sending a second message so that they will go and reprint their new centres so that they can go with their new slips to the centres .
So , most of them will be coming to take their examinations on the day that the examination would be rounding off in their respective towns.
Unlike last year when the board screened the UTME results for malpractices and delayed them for weeks , you released results this year after 24 hours . How will you track cases of examination malpractice ?
We have released results immediately because we have done certain things which mean that we are able to view the CBT centres in real time . Rather than going back to spend the number of hours used in writing the examination to check the centres , we have upgraded . As the examination is going on , we have now assigned some important Nigerians across the country to sit down somewhere in different places and watch each of the CBT centres .
So , it is not about going back later to cross- check , but in real time , we are now watching what is going on. If you go to our Information Technology System , you will see that we now have a monitor for examination malpractices . As the examination malpractices are occurring, we are seeing them from the headquarters and it is being uploaded .
We have learnt from our experience last year . The majority of the malpractices that are supposed to be detected are being detected. So , if we need to cancel some results , we will then do so . This is because the anxiety of people waiting for long has now been removed . But even the instant release of results has its own setbacks . For example , one of the activists I used to respect approached me on Wednesday and told me about what he heard from his son , who was a candidate . His son did not perform up to expectation when he checked his results and he lied to his father .
I was angry because unfortunately for them , I was at the centre he told his father about and I more or less supervised the examination . So , I asked him to present his son and we now went into our system and the fact was revealed . If we had not released the results immediately , people would not have been manufacturing things that did not happen . It was because we released results that some candidates had to look for some reasons why they did not perform to the expectation of their parents .

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There are insinuations that JAMB has cancelled some examination results for some reasons . Has there been any cancellation of results in this UTME ?
No , we did not cancel any result . There was no way . People just want to create panic. How can we cancel results ? We have not cancelled any results so far . If we need to cancel results , we will announce it through the appropriate channels because we have nothing to hide . But I heard that some people were saying we were cancelling results in order to create tension, and therefore , they were asking candidates to bribe them so that the results would be favourable to them . I think it is only someone who is not conscious enough that will fall for such a trap.
This year, how have you managed problems with biometric ? To what extent have you recorded cases?
This year , we have learnt from the previous experiences. There is a regulation that anybody that cannot be biometrically verified now, there will be more to it than the ordinary situation. And we will look into each case based on its own merit . Take note that this is the first time that questions will not come for any candidate who is not biometrically verified . That is , you cannot download your questions , even if you are smuggled into the examination hall .
If you have not been biometrically verified , no questions will come out . So , we have created some checks and balances. Even if somebody allows you into the examination hall , the questions will not be there . The system will simply say , “ You have not been verified . ” And if you are lucky and you have a tolerant examiner, you will go back and be verified and then the examiner will re – push the questions ( from the Virtual Private Network ) .
But if it is somebody like me ; you are not verified and your questions do not come , I will not take pains to go back and re – push your questions . But where the supervisor or examiner tolerates such , they can go back and re -push . Of course , we have made facilities available for such re -pushing . But we advise that in a bid to help one or two lawless persons, you don’ t put others in jeopardy. That is , you have started your exam very well and you now want to go and re -push . Such examiner is putting the lives of the majority of candidates at risk while trying to satisfy someone who had not been able to follow the rules .
Before the UTME , JAMB had assured that due to the coronavirus scare , it would provide hand sanitisers and face masks for its workers and candidates at the CBT centres . How well have you been able to do this?
It had been very helpful to put those measures in place and I appreciate the CBT centres . I went to a CBT centre on Wednesday and I could see that even as good as our own precautionary measures were , the school proprietress provided better facilities in terms of screening and the layout was very impressive . I understand that many of the CBT centres made separate provisions against the coronavirus . You can trust Nigerians that when it comes to protecting our lives , we don ’t joke with that .
Still on the coronavirus outbreak , as it spreads nationwide , the government is now limiting gatherings and shutting down schools. Is JAMB also considering putting its exams on hold ?
There are no crowds at our CBT centres . This is because although when we started , we were getting 250 persons per session at a centre . But by Thursday , that had been reduced . By now , we have done for over 1. 3 million candidates of the 1 .9 million candidates who registered . By the end of Thursday , what remained at our CBT centres was so insignificant that they didn ’ t constitute any threat. This is apart from the fact that so far so good , we have also made provisions to ensure that candidates are not unnecessarily crowded in a place .
Talking about admission in 2020 , JAMB had recently said it would get across to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to prosecute JAMB and university officials not complying with the Central Admission Processing System, how are you going about that ?
Yes , this year , the admission process has been smooth but we have some universities and institutions which are still resisting CAPS. This is because they have come to the reality that there is no hiding place and what they can only do is to get out of the system and process admission outside the CAPS. And this has created a lot of problems . So , what we have told them is that we are going to make the link to our server available to the security agencies . This is so that as anyone is doing their admission , it is not about me reporting them ; the security agencies are able to see everything . I cannot initiate admission , not even a vice – chancellor can initiate admission . It is only an admission officer of a university that can do that .

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So if an admission officer allows themselves to be influenced, then the law will catch up with such a person. So , nobody is going to hold the vice -chancellor . So the CAPS tells you that if you recommend anybody that is not qualified or anybody who does not merit the admission , you are being watched . And if you need to jump over a candidate , you must provide a reason why you are leaving someone with a higher score for somebody with a lower score .
So , what we are telling institutions is that it is not just the board that is watching them , we are going to grant access to other agencies to watch them so that they can see what they ( institutions ) have done or failed to do in their ( institutions ) admission process .

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Magu: Panel Demands Politicians’ Files From 2015 •May Examine 106 Names Released In 2017

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The presidential panel probing the suspended acting chairman of the Economic c and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has reportedly demanded the files of Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) handled by the commission since 2015.

The detained Commissioner of Police was appointed in an acting capacity by President Muhammadu Buhari on November  9, 2015, and was arrested on Monday 6 July 2020 to answer questions bordering on corruption and insubordination.

The panel, which has been grilling Magu since he was arrested, has also reportedly summoned departmental heads of the commission and other witnesses some of who appeared before it on Thursday and Friday.

A competent security source told Saturday Tribune on Friday that the decision of the panel to check the books of Magu from the beginning of his headship of the commission five years ago coupled with the search conducted on his Abuja residence on Tuesday were pointers to a possible the decision to prosecute or detain him indefinitely.

“You know when we start searching for houses and demanding to see old and new files, we are looking for evidence to prosecute and detain legally. That is it. He may appear in court soon after the panel submits its report or he will be kept in a hat we call protective custody just as was done to Sambo Dasuki,” the source said.

The source spoke as it was disclosed on Friday that Magu has written a letter to the Inspector General of Police demanding that he be granted bail.

Also on Friday, President Buhari finally announced his the decision to place Magu on suspension while the next most senior operative in the commission was asked to take over in acting capacity. Under Magu’s leadership, t h e commission h a s investigated tens of former public office holders, including the sacked Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen; a  sacked Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo Ita; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former First Lady, Mrs Patience  Jonathan; former top military brass, chiefs of the intelligence community and former governors.

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Magu has also been accused of not touching petitions against some leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC), Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa; and Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

The problem between him and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation began over his refusal to avail the occupant of that office, Abubakar Malami (SAN) of the probe files, despite the minister being the statutory supervisor of the commission. The minister openly accused Magu of insubordination then. In his memo that began the current travails for the police officer, the twin issue of insubordination and misconduct formed the pillar of the case against him.

At a point during their rift in September 2017, Magu released a list of 106 persons under alleged corruption probe to the minister’s office. The brickbats resumed after the leak of the list within days of the exchange.

Both parties denied leaking the list to the media. On the list were notable names like Onnoghen and Ayodele Fayose, who is facing trial. Others were the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, and his predecessor, Captain Idris Wada; former Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, now Minister of Niger Delta; former Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, who is now facing trial; former Governor Ali Modu Sherriff of Borno State and former Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State.

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Expectedly, Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was listed alongside some ministers who served in her husband’s administration.

Nearly all the former ministers are now on trial. Former ministers on the list included Mrs Diezani Alison-M a dueke, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), Bala Mohammed, who is now governor of Bauchi State; Mrs Stella Oduah and Godsday Orubebe.

Also on the list was a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko, who entered into lea bargain; Uche Secondus, now the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Colonel Bello Fadile (retd.),  who served embattled former  National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; Justice Abdu Kafarati, who became the Chief judge of the Federal High Court and retired on July  25, 2019, as well as Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, who was eventually sacked by the  National Judicial Council.

The EFCC stated in the document that it was investigating the CJN based on intelligence referred to it on October 12, 16.

After the leakage, Magu said in a statement that he wasn’t probing Onnoghen. However, the commission eventually submitted a  petition and probe report to the National Judicial Council (NJC) against the then-CJN, which was eventually used by the jurist’s colleagues to nail him.

In the document, the commission explained that it received a petition against Fayose, then a sitting governor, on August  3, 2016, but the investigation had been stalled due to alleged lack of cooperation from the Ekiti State government officials. It added that the case against Akpabio was referred to it on May 10, 2016, but had been stalled due too an injunction granted by a High Court of Akwa Ibom State stopping the probe, adding that though the Court of Appeal had set aside from the injunction, the Akwa Ibom State government under Udom Emmanuel had filed an appeal.

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It stated that the cases against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and his predecessor, Captain Idris Wada was referred to the EFCC on September 29, 2016, and April 16, 2016, respectively. The case against Patience Jonathan alongside Ariwabu Aruera Reachout Foundation was referred red to the commission on September 26, 2016, while  Oduah’s was on April 5, 2016.

According to the commission, Sherriff became a subject of the probe following an intelligence report received on  October 10, 2016, while the petition against Diezani was received on June 20, 2016, and the one against her husband on  January 14, 2016. Magu had told the Attorney General than that Justice  Kafarati’s case file was with him.

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Magu writes Salami panel, speaks on allegations, makes demands

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The suspended boss of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has complained about the “unfortunate” handling of his investigation for alleged corruption, saying he has consequently been “paraded like a common criminal”.

Mr Magu, 58, was arrested in Abuja on Monday by a team of police officers, who dragged him to the State House to appear before the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Investigative Committee.

As NAIJASURF now understands, with documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES , the police officers were led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gabriel Elaigwu. They acted on the instruction of the investigative committee.

The police team held a letter from the committee telling Mr Magu he had featured “prominently” in certain offences and that “the need to obtain clarification from you has become very urgent and necessary.”

President Muhammadu Buhari set up the committee, chaired by Mr Salami, a retired Justice, to investigate alleged mismanagement of recovered assets by the EFCC between May 2015 and May 2020.

A petition by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who announced Mr Magu’s suspension on Friday, is believed to have triggered the investigation.

Since Monday, Mr Magu, originally a police officer, has been in detention at the Force Criminal Investigation Department’s Area 10 Abuja headquarters from where he had throughout the week been appearing before the investigators sitting at the State House. The investigative committee is set up based on the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a government statement said on Friday.

Not given petitions against him

However, speaking through his lawyer, Wahab Shittu, in a letter directed to the investigative committee on Friday, Mr Magu said he had not seen the petitions containing the allegations against him, nor had the committee availed him with their terms of reference.

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“Mr Chairman, since the 6th of July when our client honoured your invitation, he has been consistently applying to the Committee to be given the petitions containing the allegations of CONSPIRACY, CORRUPT ENRICHMENT, ABUSE OF POWER/OFFICE, which request has not been honoured or obliged till date,” read the letter, seen by PREMIUM TIMES.

“Our client has also informed us that he remains unaware of the terms of reference of this distinguished Committee.”

The letter also related Mr Magu’s discomfort with his continued detention at the FCID “without being informed of the allegations against him and the deserved opportunity to timeously study and respond to same.”

The letter further contained a complaint that, “witnesses are called and examined by the Committee behind his back and without allowing him and counsel of his choice to participate in the proceedings involving these witnesses.”

“Common criminal”

He said he had been a target of campaigns of calumny by the media taking advantage of his detention to spread damaging, false and prejudicial allegations.

Among such “unfounded allegations which never featured in the proceedings of the Committee thus far,” the letter said, were that Mr Magu gave Vice President Yemi Osinbajo four billion naira (an allegation Mr Osinbajo has denied); that he ran secret accounts; procured cronies to front for him;, and that he acquired properties in Dubai.

“These campaigns of calumny have greatly affected the morale of our client and damaged his hard earned reputation and that of the Commission (EFCC),” the letter read.

“It continued, “that our client as a result of this campaign of calumny has been paraded like a common criminal and subjected to all manners of insults and embarrassment just for serving his nation diligently and efficiently as the arrow-head of the anti-corruption campaign of this administration.

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“This unfortunate development is happening even before the determination of the petitions before this Honourable Committee with prejudicial consequences.”

“Failed integrity test”

Mr Buhari, who rode to power on a promise to fight corruption – which fuels Nigeria’s barely changing development crises – appointed Mr Magu acting EFCC chairman in November 2015 following the removal of Ibrahim Lamorde.

And twice, late 2016 and March 2017, the president requested the Senate to confirm his appointment. On both occasions, Mr Magu was rejected by the Senate, following repeated State Security Service’s reports that he had “failed the integrity test and will eventually be a liability to the anti-corruption fight of the present administration.”

But Mr Buhari brushed aside the SSS’ reports and kept Mr Magu to continue leading the EFCC in acting capacity. Mr Magu had then denied the allegations in the SSS’ reports and also most of the allegations

Prayers to the Salami-led committee

Back to his Friday’s letter; Mr Magu, then made seven requests from the committee, including its terms of reference; access to the petitions against him to “enable him study and prepare a robust defence”; intervention of the committee to facilitate his release from the FCID detention; and adequate time to respond to the allegations against him with necessary materials and evidence.

He also sought an opportunity to confront the petitioners with his own defence; and requested that witnesses be examined in his presence and his counsel. He then asked the committee to guarantee “his right to fair hearing including his right to liberty in the course of the proceedings of this distinguished Committee.”

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The investigative committee could not be reached to comment on Mr Magu’s complaints as it does not have any known person with a responsibility for public relations role.

In the most likely event of a failure to return to his position, Mr Magu, the fourth chief executive of EFCC, will be leaving the anti-graft agency rather unceremoniously, suffering a similar fate as his three predecessors – Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri, and Ibrahim Lamorde.

The attorney-general, Mr Malami, said in a statement on Friday that Mr Magu’s suspension, approved by Mr Buhari, was to enable an “unhindered” investigation. Mohammed Umar, the director of operations under Mr Magu, has been appointed to act as the chairman of the commission.

Security operatives attached to Mr. Magu’s private and official houses were withdrawn Friday evening, a family source told PREMIUM TIMES, expressing fears over the safety of the immediate family of the embattled anti-corruption fighter because of “enemies” made in the course of his job.

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