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JUST IN: JAMB cancels UTME national cut off marks

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has cancelled the traditional national cut-off marks for admissions into universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education in the country.

This means that institutions are now at liberty to set their minimum benchmark for admissions into their various institutions as approved, on Tuesday, at the 2021 policy meeting on administrations to tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

The policy meeting which was held virtually was presided over by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education Arc. Sonny Echono.

The cancellation of the national cut-off marks was adopted by stakeholders at the meeting including Vice-Chancellors, Provost and Rectors among others.

This came as the federal government has directed the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, to forward the list of heads of tertiary institutions involved in the illegal admission of students for sanction.

Adamu was angry with the revelation by the Registrar of JAMB, at the meeting that over 500,000 students were illegally admitted by some tertiary institutions and are seeking regularisation of their admissions by JAMB.

The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education Arc. Sonny Echono insisted that admissions by institutions outside the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS), introduced by JAMB were unacceptable.

Adamu particularly said that all the Vice-Chancellors of universities, Provosts of colleges of education and Rectors of polytechnics, whether currently in office or retired who are found to be involved in such irregular admissions would be punished.

Speaking during the meeting, the Registrar of JAMB Prof. Is-haq Oloyede said some universities such as the University of Maiduguri proposed 150, Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto proposed 140, Pan Atlantic University proposed 210, University of Lagos 200, Lagos State University190, Covenant University190, Bayero University Kano, 180.

The stakeholders also approved October 29, 2021, as the deadline for the closure of amendments for 2021 admissions.

On the deadline for the closure of admissions, the stakeholders resolved to allow the ministry to decide as they could not agree on the December 31, 2021, deadline for all public institutions and January 31st 2022 for all private institutions.

Stakeholders also adopted the 2021 admission guidelines, which provide that all applications for part-time or full-time programmes for degree, Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE), Ordinary National Diploma (OND), and others must be posted only through JAMB.

The meeting approved that for Direct Entry, DE, the maximum score a candidate can present is 6 and the minimum is 2 or E, as required by law.

Speaking on other admission criteria, he said the candidate’s credentials must be uploaded on Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) and recommended by the institution, JAMB approves and the candidate accepts the offer of admission.

He said if candidates have not accepted an offer, the institution could change the candidate after informing JAMB

The meeting also resolved that every institution should maintain its own minimum score as approved by the policy meeting.

According to the stakeholders, the 2021 admissions would be conducted only through CAPS, no institution is allowed to admit candidates without uploading their details on CAPS.

Oloyede further disclosed that for the 2021/2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the board is introducing two new subjects: computer studies and physical and health education, bringing to a total of 25 subjects.

The stakeholders also exempted prison inmates, visually impaired and foreign candidates from sitting for post-UTME exercise.

Speaking on the 2020 admissions, Oloyede said out of the 956,809 admission spaces in the 962 higher education institutions in the country about 600,000 have so far been admitted.

While saying there are many admission spaces that have not been filled up in several courses due to a lack of qualified candidates, Oloyede said private universities in the country were only able to admit 36,381 candidates out of the 120,938 spaces available to them.

Declaring the policy meeting open, Minister of Education, Adamu, commended JAMB for introducing the use of the National Identification Number, (NIN), in the registration process for UTME.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, the minister said the use of NIN drastically reduced examination malpractice in the 2021 exam, adding that the West African Examination Council, (WAEC), will also follow a similar path by adopting mandatory use of NIN.

“I am enthused that the last examination recorded the lowest cases of examination irregularities in the history of the board because those who will normally have exploited the weak links through biometrics infractions had been effectively check-mated with the introduction of NIN by JAMB.

“It is gratifying that the WAEC has decided to follow the path of using NIN to curb examination malpractices. The Ministry is presently considering other ways of using the NIN to uncover some other admission irregularities and all perpetrators including their collaborators in the institutions would be made to face the consequences.”

On illegal admissions being conducted by some tertiary institutions, the minister expressed concerns that the government’s directive that all admissions should be done through JAMB’s Central Admissions Processing System, CAPS, is being violated.

He directed JAMB to furnish the government with the list of affected institutions for necessary punishments.

His words: “It is saddening that despite the clear directives at previous policy meetings some institutions still illegally admitted candidates outside CAPS. I consider such activities as a direct affront on the system and appropriate sanctions shall be applied to those found to have been in such a disruptive act.

“Similarly, any institution that issued admission letters to candidates outside CAPS will be punished for such gross indiscipline and fraud.

“The consequence of admissions conducted outside of CAPS is grievous. It subjects the candidates to gloom future as the nemesis of illegal admission awaits them at the completion of study when it will be impossible to take full advantage of the acquired candidates.

“As a demonstration of our resolve, I have directed JAMB to bring forward for appropriate sanctions, the list of all institutions involved in the violation of the directive of government which was was personally conveyed by me at the 2018 policy meeting in Gbongan, Osun State.”

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Buhari Swears in Two INEC National Commissioners

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sworn in two National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The swearing-in took place on Monday at the Conference Hall of the First Lady’s office at the State House, Abuja, before the official launch of the eNaira and 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem.

The new National Commissioners are Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina State) and Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti State).

The duo are part of the six INEC commissioners cleared by the Senate in July this year.

President Buhari had on September 15, 2021, sworn in three of the cleared National Commissioners.

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Aggrieved Benue Pensioners Task Ortom On 33 Months Arrears

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Coalition of Aggrieved Pensioners in Benue State has called on the state government to direct the payment of their outstanding pensions and gratuities.

The union made this appeal, yesterday, in a rejoinder signed by its Chairman, Akosu Orban, and Secretary, Mac Mtsur, and made available to The Guardian in Makurdi.

Recently, the pensioners had protested against the non-payment of over 32 and 34 entitlements owed state and local council pensioners, even as they disclosed that they lost over 500 members to economic crunch.

But he state government had said it had agreement with the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) leaders, who are part of the Local Government Joint Account, and had been paying N700 million to pensioners in the state monthly.

Acting Press Secretary to the Governor, Nathaniel Ikyur, said out of this amount, N300 million was paid to the local council pensioners and N400 million to state pensioners.

He added: “This mode of payment has been in effect in the last six months and government intends to continue with it until we are able to stabilise the payment system.”

The aggrieved retirees, in the statement, wondered how N700 million would be released by the state government monthly as claimed by the governor, yet the number of months owed them kept rising.

Chairman of the forum intimated that out of the 33 months pension owed pensioners, only six months was inherited from the previous administration.

RELATEDLY, Ortom has raised the alarm over sharp practices at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), where a wage bill of primary school teachers is padded.

Ortom, who expressed this at a meeting with local council chairmen, SUBEB among others, yesterday, at the New Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House Makurdi, said, with the continuous hike in wage bills, the dead seemed to be coming to life to receive salaries.

The governor, who vowed to take decisive steps to end padding of salaries, gave the local council chairmen one month to unmask the cartel behind the padding.

If proper checks are carried out with the involvement of council chairmen, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), leakages and other unwholesome activities would be stopped to give room for more recruitment.

According to him, since the decision to engage 2,000 teachers in primary schools was sacrosanct, his government would do everything possible to block financial leakages in the sector to guarantee expected goal.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Kenneth Achabo, presented a report on audited accounts of the 23 local councils from 2015 to 2019.

Ortom described the report as a novel initiative and stressed the need for those in positions of trust to keep financial records straight, to support auditors with facts and figures to do their job.

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Buhari Departs Abuja For Investment Summit In Riyadh

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President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the investment conference organised by the Future Investment Initiative Institute.

The presidential aircraft conveying the president and few members of his entourage took-off from the presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 4.10 p.m.

A statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman, on Monday said the president would be joined at the 5th edition of the flagship investment event by business executives from Nigeria, bankers, captains of industry and energy experts to discuss issues on the future of investments across the globe.

He said: ”The three-day event, with the theme, Investment in Humanity, which will host global executives and asset managers, will deliberate on progress and prosperity with energy; true final frontiers in investments; science in action; and impact of climate change on communities among others.”

According to Shehu, the president will perform the lesser Hajj in Madinah and Makkah before returning to the country on Friday.

Those accompaning the president on the trip include the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Communications; Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada.

Others are the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva; Director General of National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai, and Managing Director of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji.

Some of the invitees from the private sector include Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Tope Shonubi, Wale Tinubu, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, Hassan Usman, Omoboyode Olusanya, Abubakar Suleiman, Herbert Wigwe, Leo Stan Ekeh, Alan Seinfield and Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.

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