Two Arrested As JAMB Warns Registration Officers Against Cyberstalking Candidates

Damilola Bamiro, an ICT consultant of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has warned registration officers in computer-based test (CBT) centres across the country to respect guidelines for registration of candidates or risk access withdrawal.

Mr Bamiro gave the warning during a combined ‘sting operation’ carried out by the board and some security operatives, on Monday in Lagos.

He was speaking against the backdrop of information received by the board on the alleged cyberbullying of a candidate.

The candidate was allegedly bullied by some registration officers of a CBT centre located somewhere in the Ajah area of the state.

According to him, the board has resolved to come down hard on any centre caught compromising the integrity of its examination.

“Today, based on a social media report that has gone viral, a woman complained that her 15-year-old daughter was being approached by a staff of the supposed centre, via a chat on the X platform.

“Immediately we got the information, we swung into action because, of course, the board will never stand for such an act where anybody coming in contact with candidates’ information will now turn around and use it for personal use.

“This contravenes a lot of laws today. So, going further, we identified the centre, as you can see here since our system identifies who has registered a candidate, and we were able to apprehend both the person that registered the candidate and the person that approached the minor.

“We have already apprehended the suspects, just so to assure Nigerians that JAMB will always swing into action wherever any case against candidates is reported.

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“We take such issues as data protection very seriously. We have since handed them over to the police for further prosecution.

“Naturally, any of the other centres that had infringed on any of our policies, we have had their access immediately withdrawn, and I would like to inform you that we have done the same with this centre,” he stated.

Mr Bamiro, however, noted that candidates who had registered at the centre before the clampdown remained valid, adding that they were all safe and had nothing to worry about.

According to him, the other candidates waiting to be registered at the centre should visit other centres for their registration.

He explained that thereafter, no other registration would take place or be recognised by the board at the said centre.

He explained that access to registration of candidates at the centre in question had, henceforth, been withdrawn, following the incident, adding that it was a way of mitigating against further exposure to risks of innocent candidates.

According to him, one of the good things the board has done is the decentralisation of candidate registration.

“Before now, we had problems with warehousing, whereby candidates are stuck to a particular centre for registration.

“That does no longer obtain. Right now, any candidate can visit any centre of his or her choice in their vicinity and get registered.

“Nothing ties a candidate to any particular centre. The truth is, when we ask the centres to supply the National Identification Number (NIN) of every staff member who is going to work and comes in contact with candidates, they think we are joking.

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“So, we are now using this opportunity to remind all the CBT centres that coming in contact with minors and other candidates generally is a serious matter.

“Officials of these centres are the ones that are supposed to be the guardians of these candidates and help them ensure that they are doing the right thing and are
safe.

“You know we have a policy that parents are not allowed in our centres, which means these candidates are in the care of these registration officers.

“So, if now there is any issue like this one, we have no choice than to take it seriously, to reassure parents that that policy of ensuring that we can handle these children is preserved and parents can still be rest assured that JAMB will not hesitate to tackle any complaint from any parent with cases of similar nature,” he stated.

On the NIN challenges encountered by some of the candidates at the ongoing registration of the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), he said that efforts were on to have them resolved seamlessly.

He noted that the board and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) had been having a harmonious working relationship.

According to him, for about two to three years now, the board has developed better integration with the NIMC server.

“We have made suggestions to them, which they have taken and implemented, and yes, there are still a few complaints, but not like before.

“Today alone, we have registered about 80,000 to 100,000 candidates, and if NIMC was still a problem, we may still have not been able to record such a large number in just one day.

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“We are going largely smoother because the integration between the board and NIMC have been massively improved upon, and every day, we have coordination with them.

“They review the complaints, we also do ours, and NIMC can review complaints from candidates inside the JAMB system so that they are better aware of where the challenges are coming from,” he stated.

(NAN)

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