Disabled teenager gets varsity admission after PUNCH report

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The face of Esther Abiona, a 19-year-old disabled admission seeker, shone brightly when Sunday PUNCH visited her Magboro, Ogun State home on Saturday.

One week after she lamented to this newspaper how her disability might have stood in her way of being registered for the 2023 United Tertiary Matriculation Examination, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board waded in and offered her provisional admission for her preferred course, Medical Laboratory Science.

She had registered and sat the 2022 UTME, where she applied to study MLS at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, but was advised to change to Microbiology by someone who claimed to work with the university despite scoring 223.

She, however, decided to register for the 2023 UTME cycle, while waiting for the process but was said to have been met with some technical difficulties she encountered at the registration centre at Redemption Camp, Mowe, and at the JAMB headquarters, Ogun State, due to her disability, which robbed her of all the fingers on her right hand.

When contacted for a response to the claims, JAMB’s spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin, said it was not true that Abiona was denied the opportunity to register solely on the grounds of her disability.

JAMB, however, said it would seek Abiona’s best interest in securing her initial choice for the 2022/2023 academic session.

On Friday, March 10, her admission letter was sent to her mail for her preferred course.

Expressing joy, Abiona thanked JAMB for intervening in the matter.

“I thank JAMB for everything. I thought I had lost the 2022/2023 admission year which was why I applied for the 2023 exam. I am still in shock now looking at my admission letter to my preferred course at my preferred university of first choice. This won’t have been possible without JAMB’s intervention,” she said.

She also appreciated PUNCH Newspapers for bringing her plight to the attention of the authorities, promising all Nigerians involved in the matter that she would not disappoint them.

“PUNCH is the best newspaper. They are very empathetic. They listened to me, a nobody in society, and they brought my case to the authorities. I owe this admission to them. I will not disappoint them.

“I also thank the Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, Mr David Anyaele, for his love,” she added.

She called on well-meaning Nigerians to help her achieve her aspiration in any way they could, as she continued to lead a fulfilling life despite her disability.

Also speaking, her mum, who shed tears of joy, said, “I am filled with joy. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, God.”


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