Opinion

Mmesoma, JAMB: Nigeria’s latest organised crime scene, By Ikeddy Isiguzo 

AWAY from the ethnic colouration, the catalogue of the achievements of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, under the current registrar Prof Ish-aq Oloyede, and other reactions, the most striking of the responses to the alleged parading of fake results by Miss Mmesoma Ejikeme, is from the illustrious JAMB registrar.

He told Nigerians still reeling from their most current JAMB concern, “If we should reveal all that we know, people will be shocked”. Perhaps, we should applaud the knowledge-ladened professor for his expertise in saving Nigerians from shocks. A national honour would be appropriate.

While Oloyede and company bear their secrets with pride, he has failed to recognise that what is before us is organised crime that has long “value chains” which implicate app developers, cyber security experts, financial institutions, possibly publicists, JAMB staff, universities, and marketers. The list is longer – organised crime compromises security and anything that could be on its way.

Does Oloyede know these and wants to keep quiet in order not to shock us? How does his silence serve JAMB? Does he think that silence should be the salient answer to issues that the Mmesoma saga raises?

The matter at hand has no room for obfuscations like the N50b Oloyede paid into the Federation Account or Mmesoma’s brilliance. Oloyede’s primary function in JAMB is not revenue generation, just as Mmesoma’s academic brilliance cannot exclude the possibilities of a crime around her.

Distractions make a crime seem different from what it is. What happened? Why did it happen? Who are involved? Will it happen again? What are the implications for our admission processes? Did JAMB fail us? What did government cyber security experts do? What other (government) institutions are at risk? Is JAMB an isolated issue?

JAMB cannot answer these questions. It is on trial as much as Mmesoma. This particular crime is around JAMB with complications that are beyond what we think we know.

Oloyede is invited to shock us with what he knows. He has confirmed that he, and others unnamed, know a lot. The indifference of the security of agencies shouts for attention. Crime of this unknown magnitude deserves prompt action from security agencies.

Smug Oloyede has a lot to tell Nigerians. Claims of the integrity of JAMB’s results need to be proven. He is aware of JAMB’s processes. Does he know what the syndicates know?

If the fake results syndicates are not profiting from the “business” they would have closed shop. On the contrary, there are scores of these fake apps. Who do they serve?

Mmesoma with a result of 249, according to JAMB, still got into this tangle. Who else patronises the syndicates?

Are there JAMB staff, and university admission officials working with the syndicates to ensure that candidates with fake results can gain admission?

How are the likes of Mmesoma introduced to the syndicates? Did Mmesoma have fore-knowledge of the highest score, for her to top it? What was the motivation for this crime since there was no prize waiting when it was committed? How do fake results affect the admission process?

Every participant in JAMB examinations has a different explanation of how the system works for the same examination in the same year. It does not matter if they sat for the examination in the same centre, entered the same subjects, their stories differ.

The hurry to close the case, sanction Mmesoma, invite civil society organisations – whoever they are – to scrutinise JAMB’s processes, is suspicious. JAMB may not have anything to hide but investigating crimes, of any nature, is not part of its mandate.

Are there things the Prof knows but would prefer to save us from shocks? Is he surprised about the befuddlement that has been wrapped around the issue?

Let Oloyede shock us. Let us be the ones to complain about the severity of the shocks.

If a thorough investigation of the Mmesoma affair is done, Oloyede would also be shocked. There would be enough shocks to go around. Oloyede would be shocked about some of the things that go on in JAMB that he never knew. He should be ready for shocks like all of us.

 

Finally…

THE European Union report on our elections was bound to be controversial. All parties to the elections were unlikely to accept it. If it said the elections were credible, one side would reject it. The verdict that the elections were riddled with flaws was expectedly rejected by the Federal Government, and INEC, whose Chairman Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, is having a great time at the election tribunal. The ball is back to our judges. Our laws have no provisions for EU reports. If we respected ourselves enough, nobody would associate our elections with those dreary pictures the EU report painted. Sadly, the elections were still worse.

The UNIVERSITY of Benin has reportedly pulled one of its students off the graduation list for making a social media post challenging transparency in the expenditure of over N19b the Federal Government allocated to the school last year. We can see university autonomy at work.

THE picture of a baby strapped to the mother’s back, sleeping, unaware that terrorists had killed the mother was the week’s most traumatic image of the terrorist attacks in Niger State. Even when I close my eyes, I see the oblivious baby.

GOVERNMENT agencies owe a duty of service to the people. The tardy rescue operations that the emergency services provided in Gwarinpa, Abuja, during the week clearly showed they had a different meaning for an emergency. Assuming that the site of the collapsed building was not lit, or more hands were required, radio announcements would have seen Nigerians offering the resources, that is the way we are. What happened to those trapped while rescuers had a good night’s sleep?

ABBA Kyari got bail. The once-upon-a-time top cop we expended accolades on is free, technically. The system should also work for the voiceless, the weak, and thousands of others who have been forgotten in detention for years, some for more than 10 years. Kyari did 18 months.

SOUTH East is the only zone where gunmen decide which days people can move about or not. So little has been done to deal with this that it amounts to nothing. Next week, the Almighty willing, I will write about the South East’s insecurity.

 

*Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues

 

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