Many young secondary school leavers might not be able to write Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) and, as a result, might not be able to secure university admission for the 2019/2020 academic session if National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is not completely overhauled as a matter of urgent public importance.
A visit to NIMC head office in the ancient city of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, revealed that over 3000 prospective JAMB candidates bombard the place on daily basis as early as 5am and don’t leave until few minutes after 7pm.
Some of the prospective undergraduate students who spoke to newsmen expressed frustration, anger and disappointment as they also accused NIMC officials of extortion, maltreatment and favouritism. They said they paid between one thousand and 1,500 Naira for the service that is supposed to be free.
The applicants lamented that they had to leave home in the early hour of the day in order to get to NIMC office as early as possible and still they would meet mammoth crowd who would have been given a tally each. They decried NIMC’s shortage of manpower as over 80 percent of people who were lucky enough to come early and get tally ended up going back home late at night only to come back with the same tally collected the previous day. They claimed that only one NIMC staff attended to over 300 applicants at a time.
The applicants, who were visibly tired, exhausted, despair and angry, called on government at all levels to come to their rescue as many of them have already prepared for the examinations.
It would be recalled that JAMB had last year announced that any UTME prospective candidate who failed to obtain his/her National Identity Number (NIN) would not be able to write the exam.
Speaking to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State NIMC coordinator, Shotayo Olushola denied all the allegations, calling on all stakeholders to ensure all hands are on deck for successful exercise.
Olushola, who established that most times NIMC officials are posted to work in facilities that do not belong them, said the Commission might not be able to stop the extortion completely because the victims are most often not extorted by the Commission’s staff but lower cadre staff of their borrowed facilities like bank security men, gatemen at local government secretariats and others, but he was quick to state that out of every 12, there would always be a Judas. He added that the Commission has internal mechanism in place to deal with any staff caught in the act.
“I also need to make this very clear, the giver is as guilty and culpable as the receiver. Anybody that offers a bribe is at fault just like the person who receives it.” Olushola added.
He said the Commission had embarked on sensitisation of the general public to ensure that nobody is exhausted, adding that NIMC management has ordered that priority be given to JAMB prospective applicants to ensure that nobody is denied admission based on inability to obtain NIN.
UTME registration for 2019/2020 academic session starts on 13th of January and ends on 17th of February, 2020 while the Examinations come up between 14th of March and 4th of April, 2020.