The Nigerian Senate has launched an investigation into allegations of admission racketeering in universities across the country.
The senate specifically mentioned alleged lingering cases of undisclosed admissions that has left the fate of about 290 qualified students hanging in the balance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Enugu State.
In a motion moved by the senator representing Ebonyi North, Onyeka Nwebonyi, during Wednesday’s plenary, the upper legislative chamber asked its relevant committees to summon the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Ishaq Oloyede, and the Vice-Chancellor, UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe.
Nwebonyi, in his motion, alleged that the university staff members conspired with JAMB officials to carry out unwholesome practices for financial gains.
JAMB is a statutory body charged with conducting the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination for admissions to all Nigerian universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and other tertiary institutions.
He pointed out that such unwholesome practices put the country’s educational system in jeopardy, and cause apathy on the side of ordinary Nigerians.
The allegation according to Nwebonyi:
“Miss Ekwe, in particular, 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 said Chinyere Ekwe was transferred to the Department of Medical Laboratory Science on the ground that if her cumulative grade point was up to 4.5 points after the first year, she would be transferred back to medicine and surgery.
“However, although she surpassed the 4.5 threshold, her admission status is still not yet certain whether she is duly admitted to the Department of Medicine and Surgery or Medical Laboratory Science.
“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.”
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, in his remarks, stressed the need to give a fair hearing to the accused parties, saying JAMB and UNN were known to be reputable institutions.
“We are shaving a man’s head behind his back. The University of Nigeria has a reputation that spans decades and is respected internationally. And JAMB has its own reputation.
“So discussing and particularising it could tend to give the international community the impression that something is questionable about the certificate from the University of Nigeria which we all respect. It has given birth to so many universities including the one I went to which is the University of Calabar.
“Let the other side be heard, so that we can do a holistic job and even invite the Minister of Education to find out whether this kind of practice is occurring in the tertiary institutions. So let us do a holistic job. It is important we correct any wrong that we see” he said.
The Senate, after an extensive debate on the practice, resolved to investigate the allegation by referring the motion to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND as well as Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for further legislative action