The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), on Tuesday apprehended some agents of an accredited online payment service for Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), for allegedly charging above the approved cost.
The board’s Head of Media, Dr Fabian Benjamin, disclosed this to newsmen while monitoring the UTME/Direct Entry (DE) registration in Bwari, Abuja.
According to him, the agents, who worked for Unified Payments Services (UPS), charged some candidates the sum of N4,500, as against the approved cost of N4,000, for the registration.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the agents, operated in shops situated opposite JAMB Computer-Based Test (CBT) centre, Kogo in Bwari.
“What we are seeing now is quite unfortunate and disappointing, because we had a meeting with accredited vendors before now and agreed that out of the N3,500 generated for each e-pin, they have a N210 commission.
“The essence of the sacrifice is to ensure that no candidate is exploited.
“If a vendor wants to have agents, he should be willing to have their interest at heart and pay them from his commission because we have no business with them.
“We have agreed, based on the federal Government’s directive, to sell these forms for nothing more than N4,000; N3,500 for e-pin and N500 for the English reading text.
“We pointed this out to vendors that it was a presidential directive so that Nigerians are not exploited and we are ready to protect this.
“For any agent to sell above the approved price is unlawful and unacceptable; as we speak now, United Payments Service has been suspended from the sale of the 2020 UTME/Direct Entry (DE) forms,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin also said that the board had set out a team of investigators across all its centres nationwide to fish out those who perpetrate acts that were contrary to the rules and regulations of the board.
He also said that any bank or selling outlet that sells N1 above the approved price would be suspended and whatever deposit they had with JAMB would be confiscated.
Benjamin also advised candidates against registering from public examination tutorial teachers as they were not accredited vendors of the board.
Whoever registers with them, he said, would be disqualified from sitting for the examinations.
He, however, explained that the agents, who were caught in the act, had been asked to return the extra N500 they charged to the candidates and had since been handed over to the Police for further investigation.
Ayuba Darius, one of the candidates who paid the agents above the cost for the registration, said that he paid the sum because he needed to meet up work time and was encouraged by the agents to do so.
He said that although his receipt showed N4,000, he paid the agent N4,500 for the service.
One of the agents, Inyang Patrick, who denied the accusation, said that he only charged the candidates the approved sum, adding that he was not in charge of the operation but assisted his boss who was absent.
However, Mr Isah Omagu, Director Marketing, UPS Lagos, who spoke to NAN in a telephone interview, said that the service did not ask the agents to charge any additional sum.
“We are a responsible organisation and cannot be associated with such.
“We work with the regulation of JAMB; any agent, who is not in order, will be sacked immediately,” he said.
He also said that the service had agreed to pay the agents N180 out of the N210 generated from each e-pin, adding that it had never asked them to charge anything higher.
NAN reports that the 2020 UTME /DE registration commenced on Monday, Jan. 13, and will end Feb. 17.