*Heavy security presence in states

By Adesina Wahab (with agency reports)

The two-week 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), which took off nationwide yesterday, was marred by technical hitches and tight security checks, thus delaying the examination from taking off in many Computer Based Centres (CBT).

In the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, candidates complained of technical issues and outages at their centre, while others complained that they were made to sit for the examination after being thoroughly checked by JAMB officials and security agents.

At the Royal Midland CBT Centre in Maraba, a candidate, Ayuba Perez, said the centre experienced power outage, which delayed the examination.

“The examination was calm as the environment was conducive. The way the examinations was arranged coupled with the invigilating was okay.

READ ALSO: 1.4m candidates write 2021 UTME

“But there was a slight computer problem when the power was shut down and they have to start the generating set to put on the power. So this delayed the progress of the examination,” he said.

Anita Haruna, also at the Royal Midland CBT centre said the examination went smoothly but only experienced delay when the power was shut down.

Haruna said she finished her examination successfully but only started late while praying that she comes out high flying.

However, Mrs Queen Obepa , Supervisor for Royal Midland CBT Centre, lamented that the examination did not commence as scheduled but every technical hitches were  fixed.

Obepa said that not all the candidates were able to start at the same time because of the technical hitches saying that 27 candidates were delayed in writing as they did not start on time.

Speaking with newsmen, Mr. Abdulrahman Balogun, JAMB High Power Opinion Leader, said some centres he monitored had technical issues while some were free from technical issues.

Balogun, who is also the Special Assistant Media to Mrs  Abike Dabiri, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commissions (NIDCOM), commended the progress of the examination.

In Lagos, candidates urged government and other stakeholders to strengthen security around schools so as not to jeopardise young peoples’ quest for education.

Miss Emmanuela Onah, who hoped to study Medicine at the Babcock University in Ogun, expressed worry about the increasing level of insecurity bedeviling the country, adding that increasing attack on schools is becoming worrisome and could affect the quest for knowledge acquisition among youths of school age.

Another candidate, Chidera Mbagwu, remarked that education was the right of every child and, therefore, constant attacks on schools by gunmen must be tackled headlong.

There was heavy security presence at various CBT centres in Imo and Ebonyi states owing to the security situation in the zone and speculations that gunmen would attack some of the centres.

About 1.4 million candidates are estimated to be writing this year’s UTME, a significant drop from last year’s 2 million figure. While some blamed the drop on challenges encountered by some candidates in linking their National Identification Number, NIN, to their applications, JAMB still gave such candidates a two-week window to register at its offices nationwide.

At the end of the day, less than 50,000 candidates took that opportunity.

Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, said the huge figures of the past could be attributable to double registration by some people or even registration by proxies that the NIN has helped to eliminate.

While the examination for early registrants would end on July 3, this year, the Board is expected to conduct a mop up examination for candidates who registered late at a later date.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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