The Federal Government is moving against incidences of identity theft in the admission process into the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Professor Ishaq Oloyede, the Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), who disclosed this at a media briefing in Abuja, said the government, through the Minister of Education, Adamu, issued a directive, mandating JAMB to transfer candidates’ biometric data to their institutions of choice, thus quashing the need for fresh capturing of biometrics and pictures of candidates for post-UTME tests.
Oloyede said the minister’s directive has already uncovered 657 cases of candidates whose photographs could not match the ones recorded in JAMB’s database and were currently angling to change the photographs.
Speaking on the benefits of government’s move against incidences of identity theft in the admission process into tertiary institutions, Oloyede said the implementation of the Education Minister’s directive has led to the arrest of a police constable with the Akwa Ibom State Command, one Etim Israel, who was paraded before newsmen on allegation of examination malpractice.
Etim had hired a schoolteacher, Emmanuel, paying him N30, 000 to write the 2020 UTME for him while he was away on official duties. Luck, however, ran out on him when his photograph did not tally with Emmanuel’s, and was forced to visit the JAMB headquarters in Abuja for rectification.
He alleged that he scored over 240 and wanted to study Fishery at the Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpaden Mpat Enin, but the new measures prevented him.
Oloyede said incidences of impersonation and other forms of identity theft during UTME dropped from 74,000 in 2019 to 4,900 in 2020. Admitting that this number was still high and questionable, he said the reduction was triggered by a process introduced by the board, which now allows officials to take a snapshot of any candidate who claims he could not be biometrically verified and compare with the picture in JAMB’s database.
Oloyede, who said Israel would be prosecuted in accordance with the law, expressed concern over the antics of some candidates that try to circumvent watertight measures put in place to prevent impersonation.
He cited an instance where a woman’s name appeared on the registration list and a man attempted to sit on her behalf.
Prof. Oloyede, however, said the Board may not have the capacity to ensure the robust prosecution of all those involved in impersonation during the UTME but would select some from across the country to face the wrath of the law.