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UTME: JAMB rules out compensation for Lagos hijab-wearing candidate

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THE Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has clarified that its 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), Ms. Tiamiyu Ayisat Morenikeji, who was asked to remove her Hijab at Bafuto Institute, Ile-Iwe Bus Stop, Ejigbo, Lagos, was later allowed in to sit the examination.

The Board that she did not lose her scheduled time for the examination and such does nor require compensation of any kind as being canvassed by some persons.

Spokesperson of JAMB, Dr Fabian Benjamin in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said the clarification was necessary to dispel misleading and erroneous insinuations in some quarters that she was not allowed into the examination venue until after 30 minutes with some even calling for compensation.

He said ths was a misleading narrative aimed at further inflaming passion and exacerbating an already-settled issue.

Fabian added that the incident had been thoroughly investigated by the Board and the Board could, therefore, state categorically that the candidate’s time was not affected in anyway.

He said this fact was corroborated by the Supervisor at the centre, who is a lecturer of Islamics in one of the nation’s universities, who has written extensively on the issue of hijab in many of his publications said, “At 6:20 am, when we were about to commence the biometric verification, I saw some female candidates removing their hijab.”

“On enquiry, I was told that a centre official had asked them to remove their hijab. I immediately addressed the affected candidates and asked them to get back their hijab and proceed for their screening after educating the official, who gave the misleading instruction. She was, thereafter, screened accordingly and allowed in with her hijab after which she sat the examination.”

Part of the statement read: “The Board perceives examination as a reflection of a candidate’s performance especially where such a candidate was not deprived of any privilege or right.

“Therefore, the little drama associated with the entrance of Ms. Tiamiyu Ayisat Morenikeji into the examination venue has no effect on her time, space or anything related to her schedule as it happened within the time allotted to the biometric verification of candidates earmarked for a particular session and had, therefore, not even gained ingress into her final destination, the examination hall.

“It is on record that the Board’s examination officials comprising the team centre officials, the supervisor, technical staff, biometric verification officer and other officials, acted promptly to address the situation and the candidate was allowed to undergo other necessary processes preparatory to taking her examination in good time.

“Part of the proactive measures taken was to immediately caution the overzealous centre official on the right way to go and the candidate subsequently asked to proceed for biometric screening prior to entering the holding hall to join her colleagues before the commencement of the examination, which she sat without any hindrance.

“The call for compensation is, therefore, misplaced not only because it has no place in our operation but because the candidate was not deprived of anything as the fracas lasted not more than five minutes and happened even before the official commencement time for screening not to talk of the examination proper. It was on record that she was one of the earliest to present herself for screening.

“We urge all stakeholders, be it religious or civil society, to be circumspect with their requests, because the Board, as a national institution, does not pander to the whims and caprices of any group, creed or individual and will, therefore, continue to be fair and just in its dealings in line with its statutory duties.

“It would be recalled that the Board has had cause to address such issues satisfactorily in the past and will, therefore, not shy away from doing the needful at all times.

“We call for the support and understanding of individuals and groups to assist the Board in ensuring that no candidate, irrespective of his religious, social or ethnic status, is intimidated or denied his due rights even as we also urge the public to be conscious of the far-reaching implications of putting forward requests that should be situated firmly within the ambit of frivolity”.

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