The Nigerian Senate has launched an investigation into allegations of admission racketeering in higher institutions against the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
Godswill Akpabio, the Senate president, mandated committees on tertiary institutions and public petitions to immediately investigate the allegations following a motion by Nwebonyi Onyeka, senator representing Ebonyi North on Wednesday.
The motion is on “practice of undisclosed admissions and other unwholesome practices by JAMB and universities, particularly the University of Nigeria, Nsukka”.
Onyeka raised concerns that authorities of tertiary institutions, in cahoots with some JAMB officials have reverted to the practice of provisional admissions into prized professional courses like medicine and surgery, pharmacy, law, engineering, nursing science, etc. to short-change some students already offered admission in exchange for gratification.
The lawmaker recalled the travails of one Chinyere Ekwe and 290 others who were admitted to study medicine and surgery at the University of Nigeria Nsukka but had their admissions truncated on the order of JAMB for no plausible reason after they had completed the admission processes and resumed lectures.
Ekwe scored 291 in the 2019 UTME and 300 in the university’s post-UTME, which qualified her for the course, and was subsequently admitted by the university;
“The provisional admission practice is being used as a malicious tool to exploit and frustrate intelligent young Nigerians who are children and wards of ordinary people who seek admission into Nigerian universities
“These children who bestirred themselves to make good grades in their UTME are being made to pay the necessary fees, undergo the rigorous processes of registration and matriculation, resume lectures, and sometimes, even take semester examinations, only to be transferred to other less competitive courses by the universities in connivance with JAMB without any plausible explanations, thereby destroying their ambitions in the course of the unholy act of course swap”, he said.
The Senate, however, struck out a prayer in Nwebonyi’s motion which asked the Senate to compel JAMB to give an admission letter to Chinyere Ekwe to study medicine and surgery without delay and compel the board and University of Nigeria, Nsukka to resolve the lingering cases of undisclosed admissions that has allegedly left the fate of over 290 qualified students hanging.
Akapabio cautioned lawmakers against personalising motions, stating that the Senate was for all and not the specific individual (referring to Chinyere Ekwe).