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JAMB To Extend Registration Deadline As Candidates Grapple With Difficulties

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JAMB To Extend Registration Deadline As Candidates Grapple With Difficulties
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Barring last minute change, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) will announce the extension of the deadline for the ongoing registration for its 2021 unified tertiary matriculation examination (UTME) and the direct entry (DE) programme.

This decision may not be unconnected to the difficulties being experienced by candidates in their attempts to generate the required codes towards setting up profiles using their unique national identification number (NIN).

PREMIUM TIMES has exclusively learnt that as of Wednesday afternoon, roughly 72 hours to the May 15 deadline set by the examination body, only 1,012,000 candidates have so far registered for the UTME and about 30,000 candidates for the DE programme.

This figure is low when compared to about 1.9 million UTME and 200,000 DE candidates already captured within the same period in 2020.

Investigations revealed that as of Wednesday about 600,000 prospective candidates, who have initiated the registration process, are yet to receive the required codes meant to be transported to their mobile lines by the network operators.

Challenges
Some officials of the examination body, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES confidentially, claiming they were not authorised to speak on the matter, said the problem is caused by the adoption of the mandatory use of NIN for the registration.

“The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) that is responsible for the issuance of NIN is expected to generate the linked number to be transported to candidates as soon as they input their required USSD code. But this has been difficult for the agency due largely to inadequate manpower and lack of required technical skill,” one of the sources told our reporter on the phone.

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Another source blamed the mobile telecommunication operators for the delayed response to transporting codes generated to candidates, saying this is the worst outing being recorded by JAMB since the adoption of the USSD system in its registration.

Some ad hoc staffers of the examination body, who were meant to register using the same procedure ahead of the examination, have also expressed frustration in their attempts to be registered for the exercise.

“We keep sending the codes to 55019 as instructed by JAMB but the response is always that it is being processed and that we should await SMS. But the SMS never comes even after more than 48 hours. I can now imagine the problem the prospective candidates are going through,” an ad hoc staffer who does not want to be quoted told our reporter on the phone.

Meanwhile, a parent, Bassey Udo, who was trying to change his son’s course of study for the ongoing 2020 admission at a university, told our reporter on the phone that even after paying the required fee, the one-time password (OTP) required to complete the transaction has not been received for more than three days.

“Till now we cannot complete the transaction. I spoke to MTN and I was asked if I had activated the “Do not disturb” system on my line. But they found out I did not. So they concluded there was no basis not to receive a message from a third party. But still, the situation has remained the same. I don’t know what would be the fate of this boy if we are unable to complete the task,” Mr Udo told our reporter.

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JAMB keeps mum
Meanwhile, the director of public affairs and protocol for the examination body, Fabian Benjamin, refused to comment on the matter.

He said he would respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiry ‘soon’. His promised response, however, did not come as of the time of filing this report.

It would be recalled that JAMB had earlier scheduled its mock examination for April 30 but later rescheduled it to hold on May 20. The abrupt change might not be unconnected with the difficulties being experienced in the registration exercise.

Meanwhile, a highly placed source in the agency who does not want to be mentioned told this newspaper that the best solution would have been to waive the use of NIN for candidates.

“If we do that, I can assure you that in two days the whole exercise would be completed. But we cannot because the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy was impressed by our efforts and has even written appreciation to our supervising ministry and also to the federal executive council. So we cannot backtrack on that for now,” the source said.

The examination body is billed to meet with ‘stakeholders’ including members of various groups such as civil societies and media ahead of the examination.

Network operators deny culpability
Meanwhile, the mobile network operators have denied being responsible for the challenges being faced by candidates in their efforts to be registered for the examination.

The operators’ umbrella body- Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria (ALTON) said its role is ”simply to transport the codes to the candidates and not to generate”.

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In his response to our reporter’s enquiries, the association’s chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, said the delays cannot be from the systems of the telecommunication companies.

“Telecommunication companies don’t manage the process of generating the code for candidates, we only provide the “transport” access to their servers and we rely on the examinations agency to generate the code. We don’t manage their database and as such we’re not responsible for generating the said examination code,” Mr. Adebayo said.

When confronted with the claim of the existing generated codes ”yet to be transported”, Mr Adebayo said; “If the codes are generated and their servers do not upload them to the operators, there would be nothing on the link to deliver. Operators are just a medium of transport, and if their servers don’t deliver the codes, the link (transport) will be empty. Maybe there’s something they’re not saying. Ask them again and let them show a proof!”

NIMC fails to respond
When reached for reaction, the authorities at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) failed to respond.

The agency’s head of corporate communications department, Jamila Ahmed, who failed to pick many calls sent to her telephone line later responded to our reporter’s message that she was on leave.

Ms Ahmed also directed our reporter to speak to a man identified simply as Kayode.

But efforts to reach Mr Kayode were not successful as his provided mobile telephone line did not go through. A message sent to the number was yet to be replied as of the time of filing this report.

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Education

NANS suspends its June 12 nationwide planned protest

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NANS suspends its June 12 nationwide planned protest
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National Association of Nigerian Students
 
In a statement released today June 11, the President of NANS, Sunday Asefon, said the planned protest was aimed at decrying the insecurity in the country and the repeated abduction of students from schools across the country. 
 
Asefon said intelligence they have gathered suggests that some politicians with “different agenda” have perfected plans to hijack the protest which they are against.
 
Read the statement below;

”You will recall I had addressed a press conference in Ado Ekiti on 1st June 2021 where I had decried the growing insecurity in the country and the unfortunate development around our school and campuses resulting in the kidnapping of our students and sometimes even death.

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In the last week, I have met with the Inspector General of Police, other security agencies, held series of meetings with student leaders across the country. While everyone agreed that the context of the planned protest is genuine and we reserve the right to protest, the palpable tension surrounding the date has come under special scrutiny.

Let me reiterate that our plan protest was never part of the Buhari Must Go Campaign or Secessionist Campaign, our planned protest was borne out of our genuine concerns for the safety of our students. 

However, some politicians with different agendas to ours have concluded plans to hijack the protest to ventilate their political opinions and sentiments. While every Nigerians reserve the right to their opinion and the right to protest, it will be dangerous to our members if the protest is hijacked as the security agencies have shared with us credible intelligence in this regard.

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When some of these political players discovered that we have seen their plans and their initial solidarity with us is fake and an avenue to use our platform to ventilate their divisive agenda, they resulted in blackmailing us with lies and fake news on their platform.

Having considered the current security realities and the danger to the lives of our members in case of possible hijack of the planned protest.

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Education

NANS President Is On His Own, June 12 Protest Holds – Students

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NANS suspends its June 12 nationwide planned protest
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The National Association of Nigerian Students, Zone D (South-West), has dissociated itself from a statement by the National President, Sunday Asefon, which announced the suspension of a protest planned for June 12.

The NANS President had announced the suspension of the protest in a statement titled, ‘NANS Suspends June 12 Protest Over Concerns About Safety Of Protesters And Fear Of Possible Hijack By Politicians – Comrade Sunday Asefon.’

He said, “Having considered the current security realities and the danger to the lives of our members in case of possible hijack of the planned protest, I in consultation with all the structures of NANS, therefore, announce the suspension of our proposed protest for June 12.”

However, NANS Zone D, in a statement titled, ‘June 12 Protest; Sunday Asefon On His Own As Students’ Structure Are Prepared To Storm The Streets,’ said Asefon didn’t speak on behalf of the Association.

The statement was signed by the Coordinator, NANS Zone D, Kowe Odunayo Amos; and Secretary-General, NANS Zone D, Giwa Yisa Temitope.

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It read, “It is most pathetic to read the statement issued by the President of NANS, Sunday Asefon calling for the cancellation of the June 12 protest which had been planned for and which has had preparations at top-gear for the execution of such. In fact, it must be put in proper perspective that the statement was issued in his personal capacity as the President of NANS and not on behalf of the association, hence, it does not reflect the position of Nigerian students because no consultation was made before such statement was issued. And, it is to this end he was careful enough to have made use of the first-person singular throughout the cause of writing the statement.

“It should be noted that just yesterday, while Sunday Asefon was busy mouthing the government’s position, students and staff of Kaduna Polytechnic were being kidnapped.

“As we all know, June 12 is an annual ritual in the country to remember the day the peoples’ right to freely elect their leader was buried. In fact, the day is not about MKO Abiola or any personality as such, but, about the Nigerian people as a whole. And, it is important to state categorically that the essence of tomorrow’s agitation is to show our dissatisfaction as an association against the rising insecurity in the country, the increased inflation rate, peoples’ inability to access health care amongst others and to also call on the government of the day to do more in securing the people of the country.”

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“In fact, if some persons somewhere are going around with the tag #BuhariMustGo, that does not mean that they have the capacity to send him out of the Presidential Villa which he presently occupies. Buhari can only be sent packing through an impeachment process on the floor of the National Assembly. So, rather than suspend an agitation because of the activity of some hoodwinked persons, we are duty-bound as an association to come out and clearly state what our position as an association is on the protest that had been called. And, if at all the NANS President has the interests of Nigerian students at heart, he should have used the occasion of his meeting with the IGP to demand the adequate provision of security personnel to protect students during the cause of the protest which is actually the duty of the Police. As an association, we are not preaching Buhari must go, we believe in one Nigeria but, the current challenges confronting us, security-wise is not encouraging.

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“As a Zone, we totally dissociate ourselves from the statement of the NANS President and call on SU bodies throughout the South West campuses to maintain the mobilisation which is on the ground. June 12 day of action is sacrosanct and we shall never for any reason succumb to blackmail of any sort. Our agitation is strictly a call for the Federal Government to abide by the social contract willingly entered into with the Nigerian people.”

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Education

ASUU: Crises & Strikes In Varsities Not Over

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ASUU: Crises & Strikes In Varsities Not Over
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Academic Staff Union of Universities has called on the FG to resolve outstanding issues before suspension of its 10-month strike, to guarantee peace in universities. The union said government was indebted to many of its members in different universities, with between 3 and 14 months arrears owed.

ASUU President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, said these in an interview with Sunday PUNCH. Asked what would happen should government remain recalcitrant, he said he would continue from where his predecessor, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stopped.

“It is continuity, we run a collective leadership. So, it’s continuity from where my immediate predecessor stopped. It (the crisis) is not yet over. Government has the opportunity to ensure that crises are over. It is just to implement those things,” Osodeke said.

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According to him, after developing the University Transparency and Accountability Solution as an alternative to the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, ASUU members are “bleeding” while people are being paid what pleases the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

Osodeke said, “You know we were on strike till late last year. We reached an agreement on how to implement the outstanding issue with the government. We will expect the government to implement those issues with timelines.

“They have reneged on a number of them in line with the timelines. But, we believe it is not late; they can still resolve those issues for the peace and development of our universities. They cut your salary today, they pay those who they want to pay today, they withdraw those next week; they expect those people to come to Abuja to come and beg them or look for other things for them. So, these cannot continue in a university system.

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“As a union, we don’t love strike because we have our children here. 99% of lecturers in Nigeria have their children in Nigerian universities, unlike the politicians who are actually destroying the system. How many of them have their children in this country?”

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