Abakaliki – Some prospective candidates for the 2017 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) say they are facing poor internet network, stressful and cumbersome process in registering for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Ebonyi, Abia and Imo.

Correspondents who monitored the situation in these three states, report that there are long queues at the banks and registration centres, including JAMB Offices.

In Abakiliki, the prospective candidates suggested inclusion of more banks in the sale of JAMB forms.

They told NAN in Abakaliki on Tuesday that using only two banks – Union Bank and Unity Bank – to sell forms to thousands of prospective candidates was frustrating.

The candidates claimed that some of them had spent many days without obtaining the form, even as some who don’t have relatives, had to come to the state capital every day in an attempt to buy the form.

They expressed fears that many prospective candidates might not purchase the forms within the specified time frame, unless urgent steps was taken to remedy the situation.

Messrs Victor Nkpuma, Richard Okafor, Philip Onwe and Miss Eunice Oko, told NAN that the two banks were inadequate for Ebonyi and called for inclusion of more banks, to ease the process.

“The idea of using only Union Bank and Unity Bank for the sale of the form to me is not the best for the state because the two banks can hardly serve the purpose adequately.

“There was almost a stampede in Unity bank the other day because the crowd was so much and the bank’s security personnel could not control the crowd because everybody wanted to get the form at the same time.

“There should be an inclusion of more banks to ease the frustration and pain that those coming to obtain the form are made to go through and again many people may not be able to get the form within the time frame, Nkpuma said.

Okafor decried the current registration procedures, and described it as more tedious, complex, time and money consuming.

According to him, candidates are first expected to go to JAMB office and fill a profile form that would contain his or her e-mail address linked to the JAMB website.

The candidates after filling the profile, would go to a designated bank with the form issued to them at the JAMB office and buy the entrance form at the cost of N5,5000.

According to him, candidates are still required to pay additional N700 to collect JAMB brochure and a novel at designated banks.

“The procedure is frustrating, cumbersome, time and money consuming and I am afraid that many intending candidates may miss, if the board doesn’t relax the tedious process.

“Again having only two banks to serve the whole of Ebonyi in the sale of the form is an unthinkable action because many will definitely miss out,” Okafor said.

Meanwhile, Onwe and Oko have urged the board to reduce the fee payable by prospective candidates, to make it possible for indigent candidates to obtain the form.

They also urged JAMB to give more banks permission to sell the forms to candidates.

“The procedure adopted by JAMB in the 2017 sale of the UTME form is frustrating, time and money consuming unlike in the previous method where a candidate goes to a cyber cafe and do the online registration.

“The former procedure was simple, easy, less stressful, less time and money consuming,” they said.

In Owerri, the candidates told NAN that the problem of invalid Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) had contributed to delays in the registration process.

A candidate, Johnson Nnadozie, said he paid at Sterling bank and received a PIN, which he had been unable to use since, adding that he had gone back to the bank severally and was told to keep retrying with the same PIN.

Nnadozie added that the crowds at the banks also made it difficult for the bank staff to resolve the issues satisfactorily.

Another candidate, Chinenye Anyanwu, said she paid, had yet to receive her PIN, while Chidi Iwueze, said the email address he used in creating his profile and which he used to receive his confirmation code, had suddenly become inavalid.

He added that the Computer-Based Test centre he went for the registration, either had network problems or the username or password was incorrect.

In Umuahia, the candidates complained of poor internet access and extra charges at the cyber cafe.

Some applicants said that besides the N5,500 registration fees, they were made to pay extra charges of N300 and N200 for opening of JAMB profile and e-mail addresses.

Victor Nwafor and Christie Nworgu, said that the process was compounded by poor internet access which, according to them, delayed the process of creating the JAMB profile.

They said that it took them two days to get the JAMB profile from a designated JAMB registration centre, due to poor network.

A computer operator at a cyber cafe in Umuahia, who identified herself simply as Gift, said that the centre collected additional charges for creating JAMB profile and e-mail for applicants who had no personal email.

“There are some applicants who use their cellphones to create the JAMB profile, using their e-mail. Such people pay the JAMB registration fee of N2,500 only,” Gift said.

She denied the allegation in some quarters that registration centres were using the opportunity to exploit unsuspecting applicants.

Gift said that the management of the centre had made complaints to JAMB concerning the difficulties being experienced in creating profile.

She said that the examination body had given an assurance that the issues would be over soon.

At Apunmiri in Umuahia South Local Government Area, an operator at a designated registration centre, Mrs Chinaza Ozodinmbu, confirmed that the difficulties encountered in creating profiles slowed down the registration process.

Consequently, both the prospective candidates and registration centres have appealed to JAMB to take urgent steps to address the challenges and ensure a hitch-free process.

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