Some 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidates affected by biometric verification glitches have appealed to the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to re-conduct the examinations for them.
JAMB used biometrics for the examinations that held between April 11- 17 with about 1.8 million registered candidates.
The UTME is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective undergraduates to gain admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
The Biometrics Verification Machine was introduced by the board in an attempt to get rid of the numerous forms of examination malpractice.
During registration, candidates’ 10 fingers were captured and used as clearance to admit them into the examination hall.
But it was discovered some candidates, on getting to exam centres, were disqualified because the biometric verification was unable to capture their fingers.
They narrated how the biometric verification process disqualified from writing, begging JAMB to reschedule the exams for them.
A candidate, Olusolanle Tolulope, from Ekiti, narrated how the biometric refused to capture her finger, leading to her inability to write the exams.
According to her: “I registered for the exam at FUOYE ICT and when I got to the centre, I couldn’t resolve my biometric verification issue.
“I did my fingerprints and my information didn’t appear on the system. So, I was unable to do the exam.
“We were told to fill a form that day and since then we haven’t gotten a response. We even went to their office in Ekiti, submitted our slip and they told us they will call us and since then they haven’t done anything about it.”
She stated the development has automatically disqualified her from gaining admission for FUOYE Pre-Degree programme after she expended a lot of money.
Another affected candidate, Okeeya Iyanuoluwa Michael, from Itapa-Ekiti, also shared how he was unable to write the exams.
“On that fateful day when we went for the exam at Ijero-Ekiti, the biometric failed. About three of their candidates were affected, including me.
“We tried doing it again but it kept on failing. So, we were asked to fill a form and go home that they will call us.“
He went on: “Since then we filled the form and we haven’t seen any call. I contacted those at the JAMB office but they said they have called all those affected and I don’t know why I was not called. I sent a message to jamb e-mail and they haven’t replied.
“My hope of gaining admission this year is gone. The Federal Government should contact JAMB so they will do the exam for us”.
Ogedengbe Ifeoluwa Solomon, an affected student from Ibadan, also expressed sadness over his inability to sit for the exams.
Mother of an affected candidate from Lagos, Mrs Okeeya, said: “My child registered for the examination at an accredited centre and when she called me she was unable to do the exam. I felt bad.
“Since then there has been no solution if she is unable to write the examination that means the money we paid for pre-degree will waste.”
She pleaded with JAMB and the government to intervene and remedy the situation.
When the Board’s Head of Media and Publicity, Dr Fabian Benjamin was contacted, ruled out the possibility of rescheduling examinations for the affected candidates.
He stated there was no how the fingerprint verification could have failed.
The biometrics, he said, was designed to curb multiple registrations and malpractices among candidates.
“We have a rule. We introduce that grand norm because it was one of the easiest platforms for people to cheat.
“What some of these candidates do is to register a multiple time and create this incidence of biometrics challenges and call for rescheduling of examinations.
“They would have written previously and then when you reschedule them at the end they do another examination.
“First to mitigate any challenge we said capture your 10 fingers. We are of the opinion that if your first finger has a problem, the second, third, fourth, sixth will go through and we capture ten of their fingers.
“And we said no biometrics no examinations. You must be verified biometrically otherwise on no condition would you be allowed to sit for the examination.
“We have 1.8 million candidates and we are sure that over 1.79 candidates were biometrically verified.
“So if 10 candidates out of this number for one reason or the other which we believe is not from us could not be verified, we will not allow them to sit for the exam. Because we can’t break our rule”