JAMB holds retreat to review claims of biometric challenges in 2020 UTME

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has held a Retreat to review the various cases of candidates who were unable to be biometrically verified during the conduct of the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

To unravel the circumstances leading to the ugly development, the Board had set up a committee of experts to scientifically verify the various claims. The verification exercise was conducted at the University of Ilorin. The Board had earlier conducted a manual verification exercise out of which a reasonable number of the candidates were identified as fraudsters. However, given the sensitive nature of the issue and being a responsive organisation, the Board further engaged professionals in the area of biometric technology to holistically review the candidates’ claims.


The exercise, which revealed the many antics of candidates to circumvent the watertight security process put in place by the Board, confirmed the result of the manual exercise with more candidates discovered to have engaged in acts inimical to the conduct of the examination. Consequently, the Board has decided that for those candidates with which it has not established any case of acts contrary to its examination ethics, an examination would soon be scheduled for them. It is to be noted that impersonation has been one of the major means of cheating in public examinations especially since its transition from paper-pencil testing to the computer-based testing regime.

As such, it was, principally to address this mode of cheating that the Board introduced biometric verification which became a masterstroke that has closed the door on impersonation. In many instances, fraudulent candidates would hire examination takers who would register for the examination using their details. With the stringent measures put in place by the Board at the point of entry into the examination hall, many of the ‘mercenaries’ refused to show up forcing these candidates to appear for the examination. Of course, it would be impossible to verify them as it was not their fingers that were captured ab initio at the point of registration.

In most cases, such candidates would invariably complain that they had registered for the Board’s examination but could not be verified on the day of examination. Interestingly, many people fail to appreciate the undercurrents of these bogus claims as such candidates are, more often than not, using details that were never captured but who still expected to be allowed to enter the examination hall even when their biometrics could not match what is in the Board’s database. It would be recalled that just a couple of weeks ago, a clear case of impersonation was presented to the general public. The case involved one Mr. Etim Israel who had confessed to hiring a school teacher to take the examination on his behalf.

The hired examination taker had taken the examination but Mr. Israel could not use the result to gain admission as the Board had earlier forwarded a master list of candidates who had chosen the particular institution along with their photographs. Consequently, the purported result was rejected at the point of screening as the photos were different. The use of biometrics and photographs of candidates at the point of registration and at the point of screening has effectively curtailed impersonation as the number recorded paled in comparison to those recorded in past examinations.

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