Many applicants in the ongoing registration for this year’s direct entry into universities and polytechnics in Nigeria are facing tough time at the moment with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to register.
Some of them are now sleeping at the Board headquarters, particularly in Lagos and some for days and still unable to register as candidates.
Direct entry is for admission seekers into 200 Level in the universities or HND programmes in the polytechnics and they would be graded with their ‘AL’ results or its equivalent such as university JUPEB and so forth to gain admission even as they will have to pass through JAMB for such admission.
So, those who spoke to Sunday Tribune in an interview from JAMB office on Saturday expressed frustration and anger over the development, saying the admission system is totally unfair to them.
They said it is not only embarrassing for university admission seekers in Nigeria to go through harrowing experiences before they could register for admission they are not even too sure of gaining, but also painful that Nigeria is moving one step forward and multiple steps backward in almost all facets of its national life.
One of them, who spoke to Sunday Tribune on condition of anonymity on Saturday confirmed that he had actually been sleeping together with some others in JAMB office since Monday and yet unsuccessful with his registration.
According to him, I had earlier been here (JAMB headquarters in Ikoyi) in March to register but I was turned down on the premise that no student is allowed to register with awaiting results.
“So, I went back to my school to collect my result and then came back on Monday, this week, to JAMB office, to do my registration.
“I thought it would be an easy process by finishing on time and then go back home but I got it wrong.”
The applicant, who said he is living in Badagry, told Sunday Tribune that he and some others then decided to sleep over in front of JAMB office on Monday with the hope that they would be among the first set of people to be attended to the next day.
“But it wasn’t so and that was how we keep sleeping here (JAMB office) and with mosquitoes feasting on us. And today is Saturday, yet, we have no assurance that we will still be attended to.
He said they are many as more applicants are joining them each day even as it appeared that JAMB officials are overwhelmed by the daily upsurge.
According to him, more than 500 students are besieging the office on daily basis to register while the capacity of JAMB can’t accommodate up to 300 candidates daily.
He said another serious issue is that JAMB officials in the office are also biased on who they attend to first, alleging that they give priority to applicants, who have special arrangements with them.
He said, “We do write names everyday but the list will not be followed when the JAMB officials resume by 8.00 am the next day as many of them would have made a prior arrangement with some applicants at back doors.”
He gave example of students from the Lagos State University (LASU) Ojo, who reportedly came in groups in their school busses on Friday, May 12, as among those who enjoyed such preferential treatment from JAMB officials in Lagos office.
According to him, as soon as LASU students came down from their buses and the person who appeared to be their leader went into one of the offices to meet their contact, they were all attended to and left us in the queue.
He said even though some of them protested the ‘unfair’ treatment, nobody looked their way.
Sunday Tribune, however, crosschecked with the director of LASU School of Basic and Advanced Studies, Prof Yunus Dauda, who is in charge of the university’s foundation programme, on the allegation.
He confirmed to Sunday Tribune that truly he personally took about 47 of its students on Friday to JAMB office to do the last leg of their registration, which according to him, is biometric capturing.
He said they had been there before to start the process and Friday was not their first time, but only went back on Friday as scheduled by the officials to complete the process.
However, the aggrieved applicants urged JAMB as a body to do something fast and address the problem to enable them all to register before the registration deadline so that we will not miss this year’s admission.”
They said they were happy to see the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) who visited them the previous night and still stayed with them even till the time of filing this report.
Sunday Tribune spoke to the duo of National Vice President of NANS on External Relations, Babatunde Afeez Akinteye and the South-West Coordinator of NANS, Adejuwon Emmanuel Olatunji, among them.
They told Sunday Tribune that when they were informed about the situation, they did not believe it until midnight of Friday when they came around and found out their predicament.
Akinteye said “We got there around midnight and we were surprised to see them sleeping on bare floor in front of JAMB office.
“They didn’t need to tell us their pains and suffering because we could see it vividly on their faces.
“So, we have to go out same night to buy bread and drinks and water for them. “
In his reaction, the Director of Press and Public Affairs of JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, told Sunday Tribune in an interview that even though the Board acknowledges the current situation with the prospective applicants, particularly in Lagos and addressing the matter to ease the process, he blamed the applicants for coming out at the dying minute to register.
He said the registration had been on since February and only halted for about two weeks when the UTME candidates were writing their exams in April, but that many did not bother to come out to register until now that the registration is about to close.
He said Nigerians generally are fond of waiting till when the deadline for any important registration and not only UTME is approaching before they take action by coming out en masse for registration at the same time.
He said that is the exact situation applicable to the majority of the affected applicants in the ongoing registration.
He explained that the direct entry registration this year would have also been done online just like the previous years when applicants registered through various approved CBT centres near them across the country but that the system had been compromised by some candidates who registered with fake results.
“So, this time around as an experiment, we asked applicants to go to JAMB offices in their respective states to do their registrations to curb sharp practices and that was why we started the registration very early this year.
“But many didn’t show up until now when registration is about to close for the year.”
Fabian said even though JAMB is not claiming perfection as there is room for improvement, people should not be waiting till when the deadline for any registration is approaching before they do the needful.
While he is not ruling out possibility for extension, he pointed out that should JAMB announce extension at the moment, most candidates would go home and not bother again until maybe such a new date is approaching.
He, however, assured that all the candidates would be attended to by the Board as more registration points are being created and more officers are being deployed to attend to applicants.
He said alone Lagos State is particularly having this type of crisis among other states of the federation and Abuja, attributing the situation to its usual record of highest number of UTME applicants in the country each year.
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