Former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili has expressed her satisfaction with the processes and findings of the committee set up by the Anambra State government on the controversy over the UTME result forgery scandal involving 19-year-old Mmesoma Ejikeme.
Dr Ezekwesili said she is in support of the sanctions imposed on Mmesoma, a student of Anglican Girls School Nnewi, by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for the forgery of her 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) following the discovery by the independent committee that the examination body’s position was true.
At the peak of the controversy within the week, the Anambra State government had set up a committee to investigate the claims by both Mmesoma and JAMB. Mmesoma had publicly claimed that she scored 362 in the 2023 UTME but JAMB insisted that her real score was 249.
According to the report of the committee dated 7 July 2023 addressed to the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, and sighted by Prime Business Africa, it was discovered that the student truly forged the result as she admitted doing so.
The panel said it conducted interviews with relevant parties, including Mmesoma, JAMB officials, and other individual(s) involved in the process as well as the principal of Anglican Girls’ Secondary School.
It said that Mmesoma had sent a request to JAMB with a different registration number showing a UTME result of an aggregate score of 362, with Eng: 98, Phy: 89, Bio: 94, and Che: 81 which differed substantially from the standard JAMB format where she got an appropriate rebuttal stating her real score of 249.
The findings further indicated that “the results released by the JAMB with respect to the UTME score of Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma is 249.”
With findings, the committee in the report titled ‘Report of the committee on Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma’s JAMB score controversy’ therefore recommended that Mmesoma should immediately tender an unreserved written apology to JAMB, her school, and the Anambra State government.
Reacting to the committee’s findings and conclusion, Ezekwesili, in a statement posted on her verified Twitter handle on Saturday, said she is satisfied with the process and findings of the investigation which “gave Mmesoma a fair hearing to enable the Committee to gather all facts.”
She said: “I have just read the report of the Committee set up by Anambra State Government to investigate and report their independent findings on the Mmesoma and JAMB Saga.
“I am satisfied with the process and findings of their investigation which gave Mmesoma a fair hearing to enable the Committee to gather all facts.
“It was necessary to have independent evidence that the result Mmesoma laid claim to publicly was not only fake but that the forgery was personally orchestrated by her.”
The former education minister had earlier called for an independent forensic investigation into what transpired, stressing that it was imperative to unravel the truth in it.
She said that the sanctions imposed on Mmesoma by JAMB would serve as a deterrent to others who may attempt such in the future.
Ezekwesili also joined the Committee in recommending that the student should undergo serious counseling as she reflects on the unfortunate incident.
“Mmesoma’s action has consequences. I, therefore, support the sanctions imposed by JAMB as a deterrent to all who participate in the systemic exam malpractices within our educational system.
“I also recommend sustained counseling for Mmesoma by the family, school and church to support her as she reflects on this tragic episode and makes a decision to embrace values and rewards of effort while eschewing dishonest gain for the rest of her life.
“I do hope that the lessons of this case will help all our pupils, students, parents, guardians and the public at large renew a collective commitment to uphold Exam Integrity in Nigeria as a cornerstone of Nigeria’s Values and Reward System for our children and youth,” she stated.
She also applauded JAMB for their good work and encouraged the Registrar and his team to continue with their “critical service” to the country, adding that she would join in raising awareness about “Exam Integrity.”