Some residents of Nsukka town in Nsukka Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State, have said the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) has the right to verify the authenticity of results scored by candidates in its examination and sanction offenders when necessary.
Residents said this in Nsukka on Tuesday in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while reacting to the three-year ban on Ms Mmesoma Ejikeme by JAMB over alleged manipulation of her results score from 249 to 362.
The controversy over alleged manipulation of her 2023 JAMB score has dominated news platforms in the country recently.
While the board banned Ejikeme for three years from writing its examinations, for alleged manipulating her JAMB score, Ejikeme maintained that the 362 score which earned her N3 million scholarship from Innoson Motor Manufacturing Company Enugu, was her real score.
Prof Okechukwu Nwaubani, Lecturer at the Department of Social Science Education, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), said JAMB, as a legal institution that conducts Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in the country, had 100 per cent right to verify the authenticity of any result score that was claimed to have originated from the board.
“There is nothing wrong in JAMB verifying the authenticity of any score a candidate claims to have scored in its examination.
“The board has quality assurance process to verify every result of candidates in its examination.
“If JAMB, after its verification process, finds such scores to be fake, it has the right also to sanction such a candidate, according to its laid down rules,” he said.
The Don said since Ejikeme had continued to claim she was innocent, the board should dig further to find out if the candidate really committed the crime, somebody did it for her or if there was a system error somewhere.
Nwaubani, however, expressed concern on many alleged certificate forgeries in the country by some people in political leadership positions.
“Judiciary should ensure that political leaders as well as any person who parades forged certificate, ‘no matter whose ox is gored’, is brought to justice.
“If nothing serious is done, the young ones may think there’s nothing wrong about it since many political leaders in positions of authority have not been sanctioned,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Chinedu Ejezie, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science, UNN, said that JAMB had the right to sanction Ejikeme if after all said and done she is found guilty of manipulating her result score.
Ejezie, however, said that the board could have waited for the outcome of independent investigations by the Department of Security Services (DSS) before pronouncing her guilty and banning her from writing JAMB exams for three years.
“JAMB has the right to sanction Ejikeme but could have waited for the outcome of the DSS independent investigations before pronouncing Ejikeme guilty.
“What if at the end, DSS investigations says otherwise, that Ejikeme’s JAMB score is real and not fake, what will JAMB do?” he asked.
Mr Chidi Onah, a lawyer and Right Activist, said JAMB has the right to sanction any candidate found to have manufactured his or her score to serve as a deterrent to others.
“If JAMB has, after thorough investigations and verification, discovered that Ejikeme’s score is fake, there’s nothing wrong in banning her from participating in JAMB exams for three years.
“The board should, however, verify very well if Ejikeme committed the crime by herself or the crime is the handiwork of cyber fraud syndicates to avoid sanctioning the girl on crime she did not commit,” he said.
Onah, however, said it would be selective justice, punishing Ejikeme alone in a country where many political and appointed leaders still parade forged certificates with impunity,” he said.