Do you remember sometime in February 2018, when Philomina Chishe, an official of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) shockingly claimed that a snake swallowed N36million belonging to the board?
According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the said N36million mysteriously ‘swallowed’ by the reptile was the shortfall of unremitted e-JAMB cards supplied to the Benue Zonal office between 2014 and 2016.
She was about a year later, arraigned by the EFCC at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court alongside five others; on an eight-count charge bordering on fraud following their refusal to furnish the management of JAMB with the true information on the financial status of JAMB e-cards. An offence contrary to Section 139 (a) of the Penal Code Law.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge brought against them and very little has been heard about the case since then.
This development was once again refreshed in our minds on Tuesday, as the Federal High Court, Abuja, declined granting bail to Adedibu Ojerinde, a former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) being prosecuted for corruption by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Professor Ojerinde had on March 15, 2021 being arrested by the ICPC in Abuja, and held on a remand warrant for allegedly misappropriating N900 million; during his stint as JAMB registrar from April to August 1, 2016, and Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO) between 1999 and 2007.
The commission said the suspect was interrogated on various allegations of multiple identities, abuse of office, money laundering, tax evasion, making false statements, and awarding fraudulent contracts to untraceable shell companies.
Having another major allegation of fraud at the board barely four years after the mysterious snake incidence is surely a cause for alarm. Perhaps, the infamous JAMB snake is back to bite at cash always readily available at the board?
We hold at the back of our minds that these allegations are yet to be proven, but the thought that an allegation of this magnitude is levelled against a former chief executive of exam boards that would go lengths to punish candidates involved in malpractice is a cause for alarm. It sends a wrong message to the young generation of students who sit for these examinations annually?
“Are role models going extinct?” they are likely to query.
Most importantly, with no less an official as Ojerinde being accused this time, the board may have to consider an overhaul of its finance management system to prevent corruption.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.