The conduct of the mock examination for the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) was almost marred on Monday following an attempted murder of two officials of the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board in one of the centres inside the Lagos State Polytechnic.
According to the Registrar of JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, who confirmed the ugly development to newsmen in Abuja, were it not for the timely intervention of security agencies, the officials would have been burnt alive.
Narrating the experience, Oloyede said the yet to be identified hoodlums drenched the two officials with fuel and was about setting them ablaze when help came.
Oloyede, however, said investigation had already been launched to ascertain the cause of the attempted murder of the JAMB officials who were on a legitimate duty.
“The only sad thing that was brought to our notice was that two of our staff were almost murdered in Lagos. There was an attempt on their lives at Lagos State Polytechnic. They were wet with petrol and to be set ablaze.
“We have sent a rescue team and they have been taken to hospital. We are still looking into what happened.
“We have evacuated our staff from the place and we hope that whoever attempted that, we believe that the law enforcement agencies will not allow such assault on innocent officials of government who are going about their normal business,” he said.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 187,000 candidates who indicated interest in the mock examination at the point of registration, sat for it nationwide on Monday.
About 1.8 million candidates applied for the 2019 UTME which will kick off properly on April 11.
Apart from deploying technology in the conduct of this year’s examination, the JAMB registrar also disclosed that about 14 Computer Based Test (CBT) centres were dis-accredited on Monday morning for various infractions and inability to meet the requirement of the board.
He said the board discovered that some of the CBT centres borrowed computers to fill up their centres to hoodwink JAMB officials during accreditation visits, and noted that the mock examination had exposed them.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who, in the company of the JAMB Registrar, monitored the mock examination in some Computer Based Test (CBT) centres in Abuja, expressed satisfaction with the board’s preparation for the conduct of the UTME proper.
Adamu said he was proud of JAMB and that, from what he saw on the ground, the board was ready for the examination, while also warning all the CBT centres accredited for the forthcoming examination to comply with the board’s guidelines and regulation.
“Everything is fine and in order. From the reports I am receiving, everything is like this in the centres all over the country,” he said.
In his assessment of the mock examination, the JAMB boss said it went on smoothly in the approved 698 CBT centres where the exercise was held on Monday.
He said, “So far so good, all the centres are doing well. Of the 712, we have to dis-accredit 14 this morning for one infraction or the other, particularly deceit, where some of them will go and borrow some computers thinking that we will not know.
“Now we have about 698 centres left in operation and we have redistributed the candidates.”
Oloyede seized the opportunity to remind candidates sitting for the examination that the mock examination was only free in JAMB owned CBT centres “because we are testing our system. So, we do not need to ask candidates to pay”.
He, however, clarified that private owned centres were authorised to charge not more than N700 per candidate to take care of their logistics in preparation for the mock examination.