The Senate has launched an investigation into allegations of admission racketeering in universities across the country, following a motion by Senator Onyeka Nwebonyi (Ebonyi North) during Wednesday’s plenary.
The Red Chamber further asked the committees to summon the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, and the Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Ishaq Oloyede.
Nwebonyi, in his motion, alleged that university staff members conspired with JAMB officials to carry out unwholesome practices for financial gains.
Nwebonyi said authorities of tertiary institutions, in cahoots with some JAMB officials, have reverted to the practice of provisional admissions into prized professional courses like medicine and surgery, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing science, with a view to shortchanging some students already offered admission in exchange for gratificatio
He said, “I note the travails of one Miss Chinyere Ekwe and 290 others who were admitted to study medicine and surgery at the University of Nigeria Nsukka but had their admissions truncated on the order of JAMB for no plausible reason after they had completed the admission processes and resumed lectures.
“Miss Ekwe, in particular, scored 291 in the 2019 UTME and 300 in the university’s post-UTME, which qualified her for the course and was subsequently admitted by the university.
“The said Chinyere Ekwe was transferred to the Department of Medical Laboratory Science on the grounds that if her Cumulative Grade Point was up to 4.5 points after the first year, she would be transferred back to medicine and surgery.
“However, although she surpassed the 4.5 threshold, her admission status is still not yet certain, whether she is duly admitted to the Department of Medicine and Surgery or Medical Laboratory Science.
“The provisional admission practice is being used as a malicious tool to exploit and frustrate intelligent young Nigerians who are children and wards of ordinary people who seek admission into Nigerian universities.”
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, in his remarks, stressed the need to give a fair hearing to the accused parties, saying JAMB and UNN were known to be a reputable institution.
He said, “We are shaving a man’s head behind his back. The University of Nigeria has a reputation that spans decades and is respected internationally. And JAMB has its reputation.
“So, discussing and particularising it could tend to give the international community that something is questionable about the certificate from the University of Nigeria, which we all respect. It has given birth to so many universities, including the one I went to, which is the University of Calabar.
“Let the other side be heard, so that we can do a holistic job and even invite the Minister of Education to find out whether this kind of practice is occurring in the tertiary institutions. So let us do a holistic job. It is important we correct any wrong that we see.”