18 May 2017

Nigeria: JAMB - 'How We Wrote UTME At Midnight in Abuja'

Some candidates writing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) sat for the exam at midnight on Monday at certain Computer Based Testing centres in Abuja.

Some of the candidates had to be taken to other centres on Monday and Tuesday due to electricity failure and technical hitches at the centre they were earlier billed to write the exam.

Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has, however, sympathised with the candidates while it attributed the challenges to the 'Nigerian factor'.

At Victory Institute of Theology and Education, Yangoji, the exam was only held on Saturday therefore candidates scheduled for the centre were taken to centres in Gwagwalada and Anagada communities.

Candidates at Blue Ocean Technology, Dutsen Baupma, Bwari Area Council, said they waited for more than 10 hours before they could write the exam due to poor internet connection and glitches from the computers on Monday.

A candidate who pleaded anonymity said candidates scheduled to sit at 7:00a.m. at Blue Ocean centre left the exam hall at about 6:00p.m. on Monday.

"I was scheduled for 2:00:p.m., I entered the hall at about 7:00p.m. and left at about 10:00p.m," she said.

Another candidate at Yangoji said she finished writing the exam at midnight and had to go home with a friend whose parent accompanied her to the centre.

The candidate who also pleaded anonymity said she was hungry, thirsty and tired before she wrote the exam. She was unable to reach her parent because she dropped her handset at home.

Charles Adebowale, a guardian said nobody was providing them with information on what was happening at the centre.

"I can't say what is happening we just saw candidates being taken into buses," he said.

Mrs. Nana Abdulrahman said the situation would demoralise the children and likely affect their performances.

Mrs. Abdulrahman who was at the centre with her 16-year-old son said the officials at the centre did not inform the parents who were outside the compound before directing the children into the buses.

"I don't really know what was going on. With the information on the slip given to my son we were told to come here for the exam so I was surprised when they were moving them to another place," she said.

She said the children were subjected to inhumane treatment, "some of them, their parents just gave them transport fare and they do not know about the relocation to another centre.

"If they had to change the centre why can't JAMB inform the parents earlier? Since Saturday nobody has written exam here, so what is going on? Why are they moving them thereby risking their lives and demoralising them?" she queried.

JAMB spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said the owner of the centre had shown JAMB two generators but both broke down.

"We don't want any candidate to miss the exam and what we did was to move them to another centre. There was a challenge and the most important thing was we were able to move quickly to ensure that every candidate scheduled for the exam wrote the exam," he said.

He sympathised with the candidates adding that they wrote the exam at such time because it was a crisis situation.

"It is not that JAMB could not perform but the Nigerian factor. Somebody who claimed to have something did not do what he ought to do from his own end," he said.

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