March 10, 2016

Senate resolutions not binding on JAMB – Sagay

By Dayo Adesulu, Tare Youdeowei & Elizabeth Uwandu

Legal luminaries have said that the resolutions passed by the Senate last week, reducing the cost of UTME form from N5,650 to N2,500 and the extension of results validity to three years are not binding on the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB.

Itse Sagay

Recall that the Senate had, on November 17, 2015, adopted a resolution and directed its Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund to inquire into circumstances surrounding the new JAMB policy, including allegations of favouritism as well as review of JAMB admission.

In that light, the Senate reacted to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Binta Masi Garba’s submission and consideration on JAMB admission policies, by fixing N2,500 as fee payable to JAMB. Similarly, it has also extended the validity of JAMB results from one to three years while institution and course forms and all other incidental activities around the examination should be free.

The new JAMB policy entails that a candidate will make a choice of one university, one polytechnic and one college of education and then sit for a computer based test (CBT) to gain admission into any tertiary institution in the country.

Very good resolution

Reacting to the development, parents and students say the resolution is a welcomed development that would save cost and hassles of sitting for the exams every year if one fails to gain admission into a university.

A mother who has trained four
children through school and is happy for other parents still training children, who wishes to be known as Mrs Duru said; “It is a very good resolution, it would save us the trouble of buying the form every year.

It is not that we pray that they would not get admission but sometimes post UME does not favour them, the school might give them a course that they don’t like and they have to retake the exam. Now that the result will still be valid for three years, it means parents will not have to spend afresh, JAMB lesson, scratch card, etc. It going to help a lot because people that really want to train their children should not be made to suffer. Even though, by the grace of God, this is the last time I will patronise JAMB, it will help others.

I have 4 children, the last one is taking this JAMB. Since I was not educated as I would have liked, in want my children to be well educated. I have bought JAMB form at least  12 times. I spent a lot of money, JAMB lesson and the rest.

JAMB result form

If it is not that they are using it to make money, they would have done it since. What is stopping the JAMB result form being valid for life like WAEC?”

A student, Chiamaka Ikemefuna, who is yet to write the UTME, said the decision of the Senate is a welcomed idea as it will save parents a lot of money and bring relief to students.

She said “This is a big relief to students and parents because it will save us, the students the stress of sitting for UTME every year, and it will also check the excessive profit made by JAMB.”

Though Towolawi Babajide, a corps member currently serving in Osun State and teaches students preparing for UTME writing Jamb, supports the Senate’s decisions, he however cautioned JAMB to put its home in order so that the validity period would worth the wait.

But despite these high expectations, some legal luminaries have said the resolution is not binding as the resolution is like an appeal since it has not been passed into law.

Speaking on the legal perspective, Professor Itse Sagay said: “It is not binding because JAMB is an executive body. They cannot pass a resolution on such body, but  can only give an advice. The resolution is like making a request. Only the Minister of Education, or the Council governing JAMB can take such decisions. The National Assembly is a legislative body. It is a different thing if they have passed a bill signed into law to that effect.”

In  the same vein, Mrs. Funke
Adekoya (SAN) said: ‘’The resolutions by the Senate is not binding on JAMB. The House of Representatives are yet to make a law and not a resolution that is binding on JAMB.

It is mere advice and it is not binding. If JAMB does not obey, there is no law that has been broken or breached. The resolution only indicates that the Senate is concerned about the high cost, but they have not made a law to back up their resolution.’’

Legislative procedure

Also, Chief Morah Ekwunoh, a legal practitioner said: ‘’The resolutions of the Senate is not binding on JAMB because it is a resolution and not a legislation. The Senate should have come by way of legislative procedure to enact appropriate law and get presidential assent. Then it becomes a law binding on everybody including JAMB.

Without that, all their motions constitute appeal, not force. Another way this cost could be reduced and binding on JAMB is by executive fiat, because JAMB is within the arm of the executive. In the constitution, the executive legislative and judiciary are separated, so there can be no interference.’’

Our investigations revealed that while JAMB registered over 1.5 million candidates in 2016,  it succeeded in making N8.5 billion from the sale of forms to candidates at N5,650 each.

In 2015, it made approximately N7.9 billion from the sale of UTME forms to 1.4 million candidates. Also, in 2014, having sold forms to 1.6 million candidates, it raked in N9 billion, just as it also made N9.6 billion from the sales of 1.7 million forms.