BY HENRY TYOHEMBA AND ABUBAKAR YUNUSA, Abuja
Registration exercise for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) which started over a month ago is replete with issues of poor internet services as well as challenges faced by candidates in obtaining National Identity Number (NIN), checks by LEADERSHIP Weekend have revealed.
As a result, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is considering to postpone the 2021 and Direct Entry (DE) registration scheduled to hold from June 5 to 18.
It was gathered that the UTME candidates are still having difficulties obtaining their NIN due to the problem of generating the required codes that would enable them to set up profile codes using their unique national identification number (NIN).
JAMB registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, confirmed yesterday that the examination board was considering extending the exercise so as to accommodate candidates, who are yet to register.
The board had reported that 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.
Speaking at a briefing session with stakeholders, Prof Oyedele noted that the significant number of prospective candidates who are yet to get their NIN may compel the board to shift the exams.
He said, “We are holding this critical meeting to determine whether or not we should shift the examinations. This is primarily because of the introduction of NIN. A number of candidates have been complaining that their NIN has not been released by the agency responsible for that.
“From what we have seen, over 600,000 who had indicated interest have not been able to register. Today, we want to analyse why they have not been able to register after they have indicated interest, we will decide.”
Oloyede however said the mock exam which is slated to hold on Thursday will hold as scheduled.
According to him, the essence of the mock examination is to enable the board to test its system and also enable candidates to test their ability.
The Registrar also disclosed that some changes have been made in the 2021 examination exercise, explaining that the candidate examinations slip now has two pictures, which are the photos of the candidate who registered for the examination and the owner of the NIN.
Noting that both pictures are expected to be the same, he said the reason for adding two pictures is to expose any disparity.
JAMB had recently promised to refund monies paid by candidates who were unable to generate profile codes due to poor network or delayed response from telecommunication service providers.
The examination body, however, warned that the refund would not apply to wrong registration in the case of candidates who entered wrong codes while trying to generate their profiles.
But some of the candidates who spoke with LEADERSHIP Weekend exclusively said the codes provided by JAMB for authenticating applicants’ NIN after they had sent messages come with errors, indicating invalid NIN instead of the profile codes.
In separate interviews with our correspondent, they urged the government to provide a conducive environment for candidates to be able to meet up with the deadline.
One of the candidates, Iganya Asiya Muhammed, said the board does not have any reason to keep suffering candidates, especially when the UTME is a yearly programme that requires the exam body to prepare well.
He said, “The first day the agency made the announcement that their registration would commence, I went to the registration centre at Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa, but I couldn’t do anything despite wasting the whole day there.
“On the second day nothing changed. Everything seemed to be the same. When we approached the staff to ask them what was happening they said they were setting up our computer but the network was not good and the site was misbehaving. So, we were asked to come the next day only for us to see breaking news that JAMB has postponed the registration of UTME till further notice. I was frustrated. Why would the agency do such a thing?