On Saturday, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) would end registration for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). Many candidates are facing hurdles registering for the examination despite the board’s assurances of a seamless process.
By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie; Abdul, Frank Ikpefan (Abuja), Toba Adedeji Osogbo, Damola Kola-Dare, Abdulgafar Alabelewe Kaduna, Emma Elekwa Onitsha, Kolade Adeyemi Jos, Justina Asishana Minna and Gbemisola Adesola,
Candidates have adjudged the registration process for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) the most difficult compared to previous years. The mandatory requirement to submit their National Identification Number (NIN) before beginning the registration process for the examination was a difficult hurdle that cost many time and money. The process of submitting the NIN to JAMB to generate a profile code – the first step even before payment of the N4,700 examination fee and subsequent online registration – stood like the rock of Gibraltar on the path of many.
Despite the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board Registrar Prof. Is-haq Oloyede repeatedly saying the process was seamless, and the introduction of measures to speed up registration, many candidates may still be unable to register by the time the extended deadline ends on Saturday.
JAMB had to extend the registration deadline from May 15 to 29, when only about 1,134,424 candidates had registered for an examination the Board had estimated about two million would register (over 1.9 million candidates took the examination last year).
However, going by the experiences of candidates, this final registration week, in getting their NIN from National Identity Management Centres (NIMC) and other accredited outlets, and the difficulties in getting their profile codes despite the introduction of a USSD alternative (*55019*1*NIN#) to the text message method (SMS NIN to 55019), many candidates may still be unable to register for the examination which will now hold June 19 to July 3.
One week after the extension, Premium Times reported that 200,000 more candidates were able to register for the UTME and Direct Entry. On Tuesday, Head of Information and Protocol, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, told The Nation he was not in the office to confirm the latest registration figure. Last year, over 200,000 candidates registered for the DE, while 1.9 million registered for the UTME.
Nevertheless, Benjamin told The Nation that registration would not be extended beyond Saturday.
Candidates lament registration woes
However, the challenges candidates across the country are facing in getting their NIN and profile codes have not changed.
Though the NIMC boldly put a fraud alert notice on its website that no one should pay for NIN enrolment, candidates told The Nation they paid between N1,000 and N3,500 to get their NIN.
Amaka Opara, a Bariga resident, complained about the difficulties she faced, how long it took and how much she spent.
“The process is difficult, especially getting your NIN. All the NIN centres are collecting extra money for NIN registration. I did mine around UNILAG before you get to Abule Oja. There is one man there with a canopy; he is collecting N2,500 – N3,000 for NIN and before you collect it is very hard.
“Getting your profile code too is very hard. I spent N500 (recharge) card on it before I could get mine,” she said.
Fikayo Gbadeyo said he paid N3,500 for NIN – though he was fortunate not to have problem getting his profile code.
“NIN Registration was very stressful. When I got there they will tell me to come back. But JAMB registration to me is not that stressful. I have not registered but the way I am looking at it, it will not take long. I paid like N3,500 to get my NIN and it took like one week to get it,” he said.
Motunrayo Odekunle, who lives in Ipaja area of Lagos State, said she feared missing out on the examination because of the difficulty getting the NIN.
She said: “It was tough getting NIN. Without the NIN, I could not generate my JAMB profile code. I enrolled for the NIN, but it took days before I got it. Things like that should not be forced on candidates registering for an examination like UTME.”
Another UTME candidate, Seyi Agboola, said he had to leave his area in Lafenwa, Itele, Ogun State to register for the NIN in Ikeja as a result of lack of registration centres in his area.
“It was tough and stressful; we had to queue for a long time to register. I had to leave my area in Ogun State to do the registration in the Ikeja office of NIMC. In fact, I was not able to do it the first time I went because of the crowd,” he said.
Sandra Ezeh, a resident of Onifade, Ayetoro,Ogun State, said she had to pay N3,000 to register for NIN, after which she could not generate her profile code on time.
“When a friend told me she paid N3,000 to get her NIN slip, I thought she was joking. Thus, I delayed the registration thinking I would not pay. Since, the deadline for UTME registration was approaching, I had to pay N3,000 to do it at a nearby shop in my area,” she said.
Emmanuel Afolabi, who lives in Ikotun area of Lagos, said he tried 20 times, paying N59.00 each time before he could get his profile code.
He said: “Jambites are in serious trouble. Getting the NIN was stressful for me; it really delayed my registration. Then getting my profile code too, was problematic. I tried it more than 20 times, N59 per trial. Later, I was told to use Airtel Sim card to get the code. UTME registration now comes with a great deal of stress.”
JAMB Registrar, however, said the charge for getting the code was N50 for each try.
Out of desperation, a candidate, Joy Ogechukwu, said she made a mistake in her NIN registration which she does not know its implication yet.
While registering for NIN in Asaba, Delta State, the Onitsha resident said the registrar mistakenly imnputed her father’s middle name as hers.
She said, “I went to Asaba branch to register for the NIN. The first input on the system, they made a mistake; they used my father’s middle name instead of my own middle name.
“Since then, I have been going there from Onitsha almost every day for the correction, but to no avail. Meanwhile, I have spent no less than N2,000 in the process.
“Because of this, JAMB has refused to register me. Even when I agreed they should go ahead with the registration, I was given a wrong tracking ID, which will affect my getting the original NIN.
“Back in Onitsha, a staff there collected the sum of N5,000 from me, claiming he can use Correl draw to change my name. After printing it out, he told me it was sorted out. But it did not reflect on the NIN site. That was how we were able to know that the correction was not reflected.
Though Ogechukwu eventually got to correct her NIN, thanks to a staff in the NIMC Awka office, she had gone ahead to register for the examination with the wrong name.
“He assisted in sending my name to Abuja and they were able to track the ID. Meanwhile, I’ve registered with the wrong name, which I think is risky because I don’t know what will happen in future,” she said.
In Kaduna State, candidates said 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration has been more difficult than the previous years.
A cross section of the candidates who spoke to The Nation when our correspondent visited the Computer Based Test (CBT) centres in Kaduna on Monday, said generation of code was the most difficult aspect of the registration process.
Yusuf Abubakar said:”Yes, I thank God I have succeeded in registering. Though, the process is very tedious. You have to go and do your national identity card and obtain National Identity Number (NIN). The national identity card process alone is a very stressful process.”
At the JAMB state head office in Ikolaba, Ibadan on Monday, a candidate, Aminat Akindele said she had spent over N1,000 on recharge card to getting her code, yet no access.
She said: “We heard that JAMB is closing by Saturday and the profile code will even be closing before JAMB and once the profile code closed, it means that no exam again. They are just deducting our airtime without having access to the code. We have spent more than N1,000 on recharge card in getting a single code to buy a JAMB form, we have been coming here since three weeks ago and we have spent all the money we have with us.
“They should talk to the service provider for us so that we can have access to the profile code, we don’t know if the problem is caused by the service providers or JAMB itself.”
The majority of the candidates who registered for JAMB in Minna, the capital of Niger state faced difficulty in getting their profile code.
Some who spoke to The Nation said they are still awaiting their profile code to be sent from JAMB and they have spent so much to request for their profile code and haven’t gotten it.
Abubakar Musa who was in Extreme Communications along Bosso road for the registration said he had spent N1,500 to request the profile code and yet JAMB hasn’t sent the code to him.
Sumisola Kola also said that she had gotten her profile code but not without spending about N4,000 for the code.
It was learnt that a text message sent for the request for the profile code is N50.
Blessing John who has succeeded in her registration said that it took up to a week before she got her profile code, adding that getting the e-pin was another task.
“Getting the profile code took me about one week; and I spent close to N1,000 before I got the code. This is because for every text I sent whether I am given the code or not, N50 was charged. It was not easy at all. But thankfully, I have registered.”
There are others like Munirat Akanbi who said they were yet to get their NIN number, saying that it has been a herculean task getting her NIN as she goes to queue daily at the MTN office in Minna with the hope of getting the NIN.
Officials registering candidates noted the issues they were facing had reduced the number registered. Giving insight into the registration process, Admin Officer of Kaduna Polytechnic CBT Centre, Abubakar Balarabe said, “The major challenge we have observed is that, candidates find it hard to generate profile code. And I think that is what contributes to the low turnout experience so far. This year, the turnout is very poor. In this centre, we have not even registered 2000 candidates yet, unlike last year where each centre registered up to 6,000.”
In Abuja, the story is not different. An applicant, who gave his name as Benjamin, told our correspondent that he has been finding it difficult to register for the examination.
He said his network provider has failed to create a profile code to allow him register for the examination.
“I have been sending my NIN to MTN to generate my profile code but I have not been able to do that. And each SMS cost N50. With the way things are going I am scared of missing out on this year’s UTME because of bad network.”
Why the difficulties
When asked why candidates were facing hassles getting their profile code, Dr. Benjamin said they were not doing it properly.
“Some of the candidates are not sending it correctly, that is the problem,” he said, adding “the USSD and SMS are working.”
A computer based Centre operator who pleaded anonymity blamed some of the network providers for the challenges faced by candidates.
He listed some of the challenges to include: network problem, inability of candidates to generate profile code; and wrong name combination from NIN.”
He said: “Some of these network providers are extorting candidates. Some candidates spent N2, 000 to generate profile code of N50.”
An official of the NIMC who spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity in Onitsha,, lamented the stress they passed through in the hands of several of the candidates which she blamed on ignorance of the processes involved.
She said, “Some don’t know where to begin in sending the NIN to JAMB site. They are really giving us stress. Some may even insist they needed the NIN today, today.
“Yet, after collecting their NIN, some of them come back to tell us they sent their NIN to JAMB, but it’s showing invalid NIN.
“Some, after sending their NIN to JAMB will get a reply, ‘your request is being processed’, yet they will not send them the pin they needed for JAMB registration.
“Other messages they receive after sending their NIN to JAMB are, ‘NIN registration failed’ or ‘mistake in surname and first name.’
“Meanwhile, some have registered elsewhere which automatically nullifies the new registration. It will take us some weeks to rectify that.”