The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says it is set to commence the verification of centres that may be considered for use ahead of preparations for its 2020 all computer-based Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
The Head, Media and Information of the board, Dr Fabian Benjamin, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
According to him, preparations are already in top gear by the board to ensure that set standards for the smooth execution of the exercise is intact.
“We have concluded plans to kick start the centre verification as part of preparations to ensure a smooth conduct of the 2020 UTME nationwide.
“We will likely commence the exercise not later than Monday, Nov. 18, and we plan to use at least 700 well accredited centres across the country.
“The board in its usual penchant for excellence will not accept anything short of what is expected of the centres that wish to participate in the examination,” Benjamin told NAN.
“We have laid down rules and regulations guiding the use of any centre and as such, we expect that owners of centres who intend to collaborate with the board in ensuring the success of this upcoming examination will have no choice than to meet such rules or stay away.
“Those who are genuine stakeholders of our examinations are already aware of our position in the fight against examination infractions and other forms of sharp practices.
“They also know about the board’s zero tolerance in any behaviour of a person or group of persons that intend to undermine the integrity of our examination or that of the board.’’
The spokesman dissociated the board from reports making the rounds by a group of individuals in some sections of the media that JAMB’s move to commence the centre verification was allegedly of a short notice, ill-timed and designed to push a lot of the centre owners out of business.
He said that the board did not recognise this group, who call themselves Owners of CBT Centre Proprietors Association of Nigeria (CTAN) whom, according to him, had called a news conference to raise the allegation against the board.
“It is regrettable that this persons under whatever guise are trying to create confusion, heat up the polity and mislead the innocent public with this sort of propaganda.
“The fact remains that no amount of blackmail or intimidation will stop us from doing what is right before the law and to the interest of our children and the development of our country in general.
“We will go ahead with the centre verification any moment from today nationwide and nothing will stop us from achieving this.
“Those genuine centre owners who have been partnering with us over the years in ensuring that we carry out a seamless exercise and who do not have anything to hide, to the best of our knowledge, should be ready at any given time to face the verification,” he told NAN.
Benjamin added: “This is because such centre owners have their integrity at stake and knows what is demanded of them in a bid to collectively sanitise our education system and take this country to its desired position.
“We wish to state unequivocally that the board will not succumb to any cheap blackmail in a bid to do what is right, just as we will not hesitate to mete out appropriate sanctions to centres that would at one point or the other decide to compromise the integrity of the examination.’’
Benjamin also said that for any centre to pass the verification test, it must strive to provide all the necessary requirements needed, as the board would not compromise on the quality of centres to be used.
He therefore, implored genuine CBT centre owners not to be deterred by the antics of any group of individuals seeking to distract the public.
Benjamin assured Nigerians of the commitment of the board to create conducive environment that would ensure that the businesses of these genuine centre owners continue to thrive.