Contrary to widely held views that people serving terms of imprisonment are not eligible to sit for entrance examinations until they serve out their terms, the registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Dibu Ojerinde, confirmed yesterday that a total of 181 prisoners sat for the last weekend’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) seeking admission into the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Prof. Ojerinde said that the 181 prisoners were inmates from Kaduna and Ikoyi prisons.
However, spokesperson of JAMB, Mr. Timothy Oyejide told leadersip weekend that the development was not new as, according to him, JAMB had been allowing prison inmates to sit for entrance examinations in the past four years.
Oyejide said that JAMB investigated the inmates to ascertain their sentences before allowing them to register for the examination.
“It is only those inmates whose sentences have almost expired that are allowed to sit for the examinations.”
The spokesman however, declined to tell leadership weekend how many of the inmates were sucessfull in the examination.
According to him, “there is noway JAMB can tell the public how many of them passed, because it is not a certificate examination.”
The exam board has indicted 52 centres, leading to the withholding of over 22,000 results in last Saturday's UTME, registrar of JAMB Ojerinde said, during a press briefing yesterday.
The centres are in the following states: Abia recorded two, Benue 3, Delta 2, Imo 6, Lagos 11, Nassarawa 1, and Rivers 24. He said the centres were found wanting over exam malpractice and the perpetrators will not go unpunished, some of them, he said, included school administrators and principals who extorted money from the candidates with a promise that they would pass the exams.
He revealed that some of them had even advanced by exchanging miracle centres for miracle slippers which hold calculators and answers. The materials were brought out as prohibited items in the exam halls.
Similarly, he revealed that the following northern states had a low turnout in the registration of candidates. They are Jigawa, Kebbi, Yobe, Zamfara, Sokoto, and the FCT which had only a total of 3,380 candidates.
While states with the highest number of candidates are Imo, Delta, Anambra, Osun, Oyo, and Ogun and 'this year's figure is similar to the 2011 UTME trend except in Bauchi which occupied the 31st position and has now been replaced by Jigawa State.
In the same vein, the most preferred institutions and which unfortunately do not have the carrying capacity for the candidates include University of Lagos as the lead on the chart with a total number of 83,865candidates, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, University of Benin, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University of Ilorin, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of PortHarcourt, University of Uyo, Imo state University, and University of Ibadan.