By Abdulrasheed Hammad, is a 300-Level student of Law at Udus

In Nigeria, there are better ways to have good grades after writing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). Candidates only need to know a top official working with the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) or experts who can hack the institution’s website and upgrade scores.

Alas! The above narrative is the true picture of how many students seeking admission have been defrauded by fraudsters, an investigation by this reporter shows after this reporter pretended to be a JAMB candidate who failed in the recent and previous examination. This story exposed how these perpetrators are carrying out their illegal acts and how they are fraudulently collecting illegal funds from candidates.

One of the victims of this incident who pleaded anonymity narrated how he was duped in 2016 by a fraudster who promised to upgrade his JAMB score after the mass failure recorded and the addition of 40 marks to candidates.

“It was in 2016 that the incident happened and I scored 168, I thought they will also add 40marks to my score the way they added it to some candidate’s results but unfortunately nothing was added, I saw a number on Facebook and I decided to call him for an upgrade, he said I should pay N6,000 for the upgrade but he later accepted N2,000 After the money was transferred, he blocked my account immediately.” he lamented.

Sulyman Adam Opeyemi, a friend to a victim narrated how he ignorantly introduced his friend, Shafihi Muhammad to one man he met on Social Media who claimed to be an expert in the upgrading of JAMB results. The friend who scored 140 in 2019 sought after an upgrade.

“I innocently introduced my friend to a scammer, the guy told him that he will do it, we even used my bank account to send the money to his account which is a sum of N1,500 but he said we should wait for two days, but after two days, nothing change in my friend’s portal till now and the number of this person is not going again” he unveiled.

Reporter’s diary:

I introduced myself as Abdulrasaq Adebanjo to the first fraudster who identified himself as Jude. I pretended as a JAMB candidate who has been writing JAMB for many years back. Having failed in 2020, I told him that I want to upgrade my JAMB score from 132 to 220.

Mr. Jude then instructed me to send my JAMB registration number and payment to perfect the processes. He explained that his previous experience with admission seekers won’t make him do the upgrade without payment. He simply asked for N4,000.

“When I am done with the upgrade and you didn’t pay my money, I will reduce the score back”, he threatened as he claimed to be working in  JAMB office Abuja, with more than 450 JAMB details to upgrade. Mr. Jude then sent his bank details with Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) – 0150311182 via WhatsApp.

This reporter had the same encounter with Emma Amechi who requested for N10,000. “We can add additional 65marks for you or additional 100marks, additional 65 marks will cost you N10,000 while additional 100 marks will cost you 15,000 If you make the payment now today, your score will be upgraded in 24hours, by this time of tomorrow, you will see your results,” he promised. He then sent his bank details with the First Bank PLC – Emma Amechi (3101491515).

More attempt:

“Thank you for contacting Barrister Festus James! Please let us know how we can help you. You are welcome to JAMB UPGRADE INTERNATIONAL”. he introduced himself via WhatsApp. With N10,000, he assured me that my JAMB scores will be upgraded within five minutes.

“I will upgrade it for you now as I am talking to you and you will be checking it in the next 5 minutes. Once I am done with it and you confirm it you will now balance me up upon seeing your Jamb score. I thought you are ready now because I am already programming your result here”, he further said when I pleaded for reduction. As expected, he also sent his bank details with Zenith. His account read as Abdulrazak Abdullahi and account number: 2282065551.

Who is aware?

This reporter’s investigation revealed that sometimes, victims’ parents are aware and often support their kids to upgrade. One of the parents who pleaded anonymity explained that it was the stress and pressure from his son that forced him to pay N2,000# to fraudsters in 2016.

Meanwhile, Isiaq Rafiu, a father of a Jamb candidate whose son scored 173 in the recent 2020 Jamb result revealed that he can never pay such money for Jamb upgrade because everything is a scam. “I cannot be a party to Jamb upgrade because everything is a scam,” he emphasized.

What the law says

Under the Criminal Code Act which is applicable in the Southern part of the country, forgery is a felonious offense. The Act provides, in Chapter 44, two to three years jail term, with an option of fine, as punishment for forgery. The Penal Code Act which is applicable in the Northern part also has similar provisions with a maximum of 14 years),
where the guilt of the alleged offender is proved.

On the offense of forgery, the Criminal Code Act reads: “Any person, who forges any document, writing, or seal, is guilty of an offense which, unless otherwise stated, is a felony, and he is liable if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for three years.”

Police React

In an interview with the Chief Superintendent of Police, the Deputy Force Public Relation Officer Federal Headquarters Abuja, CSP Adeniran Aremu said that if any report of such is reported to them, the perpetrators would surely face the wrath of the law.

“If there’s any report of such, we will definitely follow it up and when they are arrested, we will take it up. So many of them have been arrested and they have been dealt with”.

Experts warning:

Professor Abdulganeey Ayodeji Salahu in the department of Guidance and Counselling, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto revealed that the implication of this issue of forgery of result in our society is that it would corrupt our society from this present generation till upcoming generation if this problem is not resolved.

“When it comes to that, everybody knows what is right and what’s wrong, it’s those who are desperate to gain admission that gets defrauded. Why can’t you just take another option instead of paying somebody to help you upgrade your Jamb score? It’s better to
change to another institution and If you are not interested or you can rewrite Jamb another year.”

He, however, admonished the candidates to exercise patience if they eventually scored less than their expectations and try to rewrite Jamb.

While speaking with Olowookere Sikiru, a graduate of Guidance and Counselling from University of Ibadan said that since the inception of Prof.Ishaq Oloyede as the Registrar of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, there’s a reduction in examination
malpractice and all sorts of crimes because all the perpetrators caught are
brought to the book.

He, however, laid down the way forward to curb this menace in our
society starting from Digital skill sensitization, Counseling perspective, Parenting, and government.
“Digital skill sensitization is to ensure that the candidates are sensitized and to educate students on cybersecurity and safety from an early age. Information is power; having the knowledge to distinguish between fact and fiction is a more potent power.

“Guidance and Counseling are not considered as a vital discipline in the Nigerian education sector. But students will understand failure through their counselors because their counselor will not allow them to indulge in such acts. Schools should encourage the counselor in organizing a career talk, give room for counseling relationships in secondary schools”.

JAMB reacts:

When contacted, Fabian Benjamin – JAMB spokesperson described the act as unscrupulous means of making money.

“If upgrading of Jamb is possible, the result will be so useless that anybody can upgrade their Jamb score easily. Jamb upgrade is not possible. As the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Jamb, my brother wrote Jamb last year and he didn’t get what is required and he has written this year again, if it’s possible I would have talked to someone to upgrade it. for me.” he said.

He, however, admonished the candidates to stop patronizing the fraudster stating that the JAMB scores upgrade is not possible.

“Candidates shouldn’t patronize these swindlers, as I am telling you, we are arresting them. Jamb upgrade is not possible at all,” he advised.

 Abdulrasheed Hammad, is a 300-Level student of Law at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.

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