JAMB Bans Candidate for 3 Years Over Fake UTME Result Amidst Allegations of Conspiracy
Following the controversy generated by a candidate of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), Ejikeme Mmesoma, who had reportedly forged and inflated her result, the family of the student yesterday stood behind their daughter, claiming that there was a conspiracy to deny her, her hard-earned academic success.
JAMB had in a statement on Sunday evening noted that Ejikeme manually inflated her UTME result from 249 to 362 and used her manually inflated score to attract a N3m scholarship from Innoson Motors and was set to be rewarded by the Anambra state government before she was exposed.
When contacted over the issue, Mmesoma’s father, Mr. Ejikeme Romanus stated that his daughter had showcased sterling academic brilliance from her nursery school days and always claimed first position in her class, starting from nursery to secondary school.
Ejikeme said, “We are from Oduma in Aninri local government in Enugu state, but we live in Uruagu, Nnewi.
“Mmesoma is my first child. She had always taken first position from the time she was in the nursery school at Ogbunike Central School.
“When she was at Oba Girls’ Secondary School, Mmesoma was representing the school in competitions. So when she changed to Anglican Girls’ Secondary School, her teachers in Oba Girls came and pleaded with me, begging me to retain her in their school; that she is promoting the name of their school.
“Mmesoma cannot manipulate her UTME score. I don’t believe what they are saying. They just want to transfer that scholarship to another person. That is why they are saying that Mmesoma did not make that score.
“It is even her (Mmesoma) friends that saw her score on the internet and started calling her before she went and printed it out. We have the print-out with us now”, Mmesoma’s father added.
Mr. Ejikeme lamented that her daughter had been feeling very sad and even crying sometimes since after her visit to the commissioner of education from where she was taken to the DSS office.
When contacted, the public relations officer of the Anambra State police command, deputy superintendent of police, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, told LEADERSHIP that Mmesoma had not been reported to the police in the state.
“We are not aware of the case (Mmesoma’s UTME score forgery). So, I can comment on the issue”, Tochukwu said.
LEADERSHIP reports that Mmesoma Ejikeme, who reportedly inflated her result and announced herself as the top scorer for the 2023 UTME, has been banned from participating in the examination for the next three years.
The spokesperson, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Dr Fabian Benjamin, disclosed this when he was featured on LEADERSHIP TV programme, “Big Issue,” yesterday.
Ejikeme, who was offered a N3 million scholarship by Innoson Motors, was also set to be honoured by the Anambra State government before her claim was countered on Sunday evening by JAMB.
The examination body believes the candidate may have some sponsors or managers who helped her to manipulate the result the way he did.
According to Fabian, the board was able to identify the fake result with the help of a security device called QR code scan.
“This particular candidate, there was news all over that she was honoured with N3 million and the Anambra State government was also trying to receive and honour her also.
“We had announced the highest scorer for the year 2023 which incidentally happens to come from Anambra state and when we got the information that somebody is laying claim of 362, we went into our system and we discovered that there was nobody with a score of 362.
“The commissioner of education from Anambra actually called and I asked her to send the result to me. For every result that is printed from our system, it comes out with QR code. The QR code is the security device of that result.
“The first thing I did was scan the QR code. So when I scanned the QR code on her result, I discovered that the QR code belongs to a candidate who sat the examination in 2021 and that candidate scored 138, and I became curious.
“So, I went into the system with the registration number because she put the scores she obtained. I checked in the system and discovered that she scored 249 and not 362.” He also noted that she might have used graphic design to manipulate the scores.
Speaking further, Fabian said JAMB was not aware of the issue until when the girl brought it in the public space, adding that she will now be penalised for it.
“Her 249 result is withdrawn and she will be banned from taking this examination in the next three years,” the JAMB spokesman said.
He maintained that the girl is not alone in the act of claiming higher scores, but that this one became very important because she displayed her registration number and a script.
He added, “For somebody to come out and say I scored 300, that is your business, but by the time you begin to show the script, carrying our logo and everything, it is at that point we need to rise up. So even if we have social media and have access to these things, we don’t rush, we do our investigation and know how it happened.
“If I tell you the level of investigation that we have conducted, we have the 55019, our USSD code. We use that 55019 to communicate with candidates during registration, examination and release of results.
“Immediately this result was released, she checked her result, instead of sending “RESULT TO 55019, she sent a message “Post UTME to 55019 but the machine now sent her results because the phone number she is using is a unique identifier, so it sent her result which was 249.
“She now doctored that result – because that one is a text message so it’s very easy to doctor. So she doctored the results, put the marks the way she wanted and sent them back to 55019 so the code also returned her original results again.
‘So if you look at the communication, anybody can investigate. All you need to do is to pick up her Airtel phone number and ask the company to give you the information on it. At each point she kept sending the message and it kept returning her results of 249, almost four times.
“So, she went outside the database to obtain that slip, but unfortunately, for her sponsors or her managers they didn’t know that there are security devices attached to each slip that is printed and the QR code is one of them. There are about seventeen of them which I wouldn’t want to mention on air.
“Unfortunately for her again, for 2023 we didn’t use the design she is holding. What she is holding is different from what we are using for 2023,” he explained.
Speaking of another candidate from Kaduna who claimed to have scored 380, Fabian said he was not even a candidate.
“There are soft wares – I don’t want to mention; they use it to print, snap the result sheets and once you upload on the software, it gives you the opportunity to design whatever you want,” he said.
I Didn’t Forge Result, I’m Traumatised By Allegation – Mmesoma
The candidate, Mmesoma Ejikeme, who was accused by the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) of forging her 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), has insisted that she didn’t forge her result as claimed by the examination board.
Ejikeme stated this in a video obtained by our correspondent in Abuja.
In the video, Ejikeme said, “My name is Ejikeme Mmesoma. I’m the owner of this result. I went to the JAMB portal to print this result and this is the result they gave me. This is my aggregate, 362.
“They scanned the QR code on my result and it showed a Yoruba name Omotola Afolabi who scored 138. The same Omotola scored 338 when it was rechecked and this evidence showed that there is a problem.”
Anambra Government Begins Probe, DSS Keeps Mum
Meanwhile, Anambra state government has set up an investigation panel into the controversy trailing the authenticity of Miss Ejikeme Mmesoma’s 362 score in the 2023 UMTE.
The state commissioner of education, Professor Ngozi Chuma-Ude said the state government had congratulated Mmesoma when she was published in social media platforms that she got the highest score of 362 in the 2023 UMTE.
She, however, stated that the government was later to discover from the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board website that the highest score in the 2023 UMTE was 360, and that it was another student who hails from the state, Miss Nkechinyere Umeh, who garnered the score.
The education commissioner stated that Mmesoma was later brought to her office in Awka on Friday, June 30, by one Very Rev Nduka and the principal of her school to protest when they saw that the state government rather congratulated Miss Nkechinyere Umeh.
She stated that when she scrutinized the printout of Mmesoma’s JAMB result slip, she noticed that the result was that 2021 UMTE.
“Following Mmesoma’s protest, I decided to call the secretary of JAMB, and he told me that the highest score in 2023 UMTE is 360.
“I therefore invited the DSS (operatives) and when they came, all of us took Mmesoma to their (DSS) office for them to investigate the matter. And I made sure that Mmesoma was released to go home.
“So, the matter is still being investigated”, Prof. Chuma-Ude added.
Ezekwesili Calls For Forensic Investigation
Meanwhile, former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has demanded an independent forensic investigation over the trending saga between Mmesoma Ejikeme and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
Ezekwesili said listening to Mmesoma in the video, where she narrated her own side of the story, shows it is reasonable to request a forensic-investigation to help reveal what really happened.
In a post via her verified Twitter handle yesterday, Ezekwesili said she had reached out to the Registrar of JAMB to carry out an independent investigation.
“This saga between Mmesoma Ejikeme and @JAMBHQ requires an Independent Tech investigation to unearth all facts. Listening to her in this video, it is reasonable to request a forensic-investigation to help reveal what really happened. I have reached out to the Registrar of JAMB.”