12 June 2018

Nigeria: Arabic Controversy - CAN Youth Counter National Leadership, Commend JAMB

The youth wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) has said the allegation against the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), that it compelled candidates to write Arabic as a subject in the recently conducted police recruitment examination is not true.

The association said JAMB deserves "commendations not condemnation" for carrying out the examination effectively.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the candidates for police recruitment wrote the qualifying examination nationwide on May 25 being part of the series of tests for enlistment into the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

After the examination, there were rumours that candidates were asked to write an Arabic paper as part of the examination, in addition to two other subjects, a situation that was allegedly meant "to screen out candidates who are unlikely to be familiar with Arabic".

CAN had condemned the action saying it believed the reports. It said the presence of Arabic in the examination was a deliberate attempt to undermine Christians. It also called for the cancellation of the examination.

However JAMB and the Police Service Commission (PSC) dismissed the call, saying the candidates did not write Arabic examination.

But in a statement issued on Monday, the president of the YOWICAN, Daniel Kadzai, said their fact-finding mission to know the truth regarding the inclusion of Arabic from JAMB was very revealing, "as we saw the fairness, transparent and equitable way a public agency should be managed".

"In as much as we came with complaints, as Christians whose Bible teaches love and truth, we must equally promote love for one another and also say things the way we see them. I know a lot of people will antagonise this statement but this is the truth," he said.

He however said it is important for the registrar to use his influence as a strategic personality to help address government policies and appointments that seem to favour one side of the religion "which is building up unimaginable mutual suspision in the country".

"Most of the directors in JAMB are Christians, some are also deacons in their respective churches and they told us in confidence that they set the examination.

"Irrespective of what has been written before, we are writing this to address the public especially the Christians that we have gone there, investigated and the allegations are not true. Even when you see the results, there is no Arabic there."

When contacted, the spokesperson of CAN, Adebayo Oladeji, in a phone conversation with PREMIUM TIMES confirmedthat Mr Kadzai was a youth leader of CAN.

He, however, said the Christian association was not satisfied with JAMB's explanation.

"We have expressed our position and we are still saying No" he said.

In his remarks on Monday, the registrar of JAMB, Ishaq Oloyede, expressed concern over "the misrepresentation of the whole scenario which has continued to cause unnecessary tension in the country".

"I am disturbed that Nigeria has degenerated to a level where we don't trust each other anymore even amongst religious leaders, no candidate was instructed or made to forcibly attempt any questions in Arabic," he said.

According to him, the questions were not part of the exam but were simply included as 'dummies.'

The registrar said the exam questions were set and administered by directorate staff of the board, among whom is a deacon (church official) in one of the largest pentecostal churches in Nigeria.

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