The vice-chancellor of the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, is among heads of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions which the Nigerian government has vowed to punish for engaging in what it described as illegal admission exercises.

The education minister, Adamu Adamu, who issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at the 2021 admission policy meeting organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), accused the concerned institutions of flouting the government’s directive. This was as the minister also formally announced the commencement of the admission processes for the 2021/2022 academic session, even as guidelines for the process were released including the free will offered the individual institutions to set cut-off marks as approved by the policy meeting.

Mr Adamu, who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Sonny Echono, said appropriate sanctions would be meted against defaulting heads of agencies.

Mr Echono, who chaired the meeting on behalf of the minister, noted that the actions of the institutions usually alter the country’s statistics of admitted candidates and those not admitted annually. He said; “It is in furtherance of the goal of safeguarding the integrity of the admission process that all institutions were told that admission made outside the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) is unacceptable to the system.

“It is saddening that despite the clear directives at previous policy meetings some institutions still illegally admitted candidates outside CAPS. I consider such an act as a direct affront on the system and appropriate sanctions shall be applied on those found to have been involved in such a disruptive act. Similarly, any institution that issued admission letters to candidates outside CAPS will be punished for such gross indiscipline and fraud.”

The admission body also gave an evidence of a candidate who opted to study law at the university but was offered Political Science and that an admission letter was issued to the candidate without recourse to JAMB. The registrar gave in evidence that; “Omosanya Faozeeyat Odunayo applied to University of Abuja to study Law with a score of 251. By 30th March, 2021 she had been issued ‘Letter of Admission’ by the University for Political Science “As of Monday, 30th August, 2021 (5 months after), she is yet to be proposed on CAPS by the university.” Earlier in April, JAMB had accused the management of the university and other unnamed institutions of illegally admitting students during the 2020/2021 admission processes. JAMB, in a statement signed by its head of Public Affairs and Protocol unit, Fabian Benjamin, declared the admissions conducted by the university as null and void.

The examination body reiterated that it remains the only body statutorily empowered to issue admission letters to successful candidates of universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and monotechnics in Nigeria. Varsity denies allegation The university’s spokesman, Habib Yakoob, denies any wrongdoing, saying the university has always adhered to admission rules “to a large extent.” He acknowledged that the conflict between the examination body has been on for some time but that as much as he knows the university has not erred.

He said; “I don’t know… You know what, if you have been covering this beat for quite some time, particularly in the last couple of years, you would have noticed this back and forth between the university and JAMB, and our position has always been clear. So I am surprised this is coming up again. “As far the university is concerned we adhere strictly to the rule, to a large extent, set by JAMB. So I do not think we violate this policy on CAPS. That is the much I can say for now.” When confronted with the fact of an example given by the JAMB registrar, Mr Yakoob said he didn’t have the details of such a candidate. 2021 admission kicks off Meanwhile, with the policy meeting successfully held, the admission process for the 2021/2022 calendar has formally commenced in the country. But following what it described as varying recommendations cut-off marks, the policy meeting agreed that individual institutions should enjoy the free will to determine its minimum cut-off marks for admission. According to the JAMB registrar, the University of Maiduguri proposed 150 as its minimum cut-off mark, Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto proposed 140, Pan Atlantic University proposed 210, University of Lagos, 200; Lagos State University, 190; Covenant University, 190 and Bayero University Kano wanted 180 as its cut off mark.

Meanwhile, the meeting also concluded that October 29, 2021, should be the deadline for any amendment to the 2020 admission but could not agree on the December deadline for the 2021 admission for public schools and January 31, 2022 for private tertiary institutions. Admission guidelines Ahead of the commencement of the 2021 admission processes, the stakeholders which comprised heads of various institutions, admission officers and registrars, also adopted the set guidelines, which provide that all applications for part-time or full-time programmes for degrees, NCE, OND, and others must be posted only through the examination body. Speaking on the stakeholders’ decision on other admission criteria, Mr Oloyede said the candidate’s credentials must be uploaded on CAPS as recommended by the institutions of choice while JAMB approves and the candidate accepts the offer of admission. According to the meeting, the 2021 admissions will be conducted only through CAPS, no institution is allowed to admit candidates without uploading their details on CAPS. Meanwhile, the meeting also exempted prison inmates, visually impaired and foreign candidates from sitting for post UTME exercise.

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