The Senate has urged the Federal Ministry of Education, Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), to immediately review the implementation of the policy which makes it compulsory for UTME candidates to provide their National Identity Numbers (NIN) during registration.
The review, according to the upper chamber, should accommodate extending the JAMB registration deadline or suspending the NIN requirement until there is a seamless and well organized process for obtaining the national identity number.
This was one out of two resolutions reached, following a motion considered to that effect on the floor of the Senate during plenary on Tuesday.
Coming under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules, sponsor of the motion, Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra South) bemoaned the frustrations faced by young Nigerians as a result of the policy introduced by JAMB making it compulsory for candidates to provide the National Identity Number (NIN) during UTME registration.
Describing the requirement as “inconsiderate and premature”, the lawmaker observed that the policy infringes on the rights of young Nigerians to education.
According to him, the requirement locks out majority of candidates from registering for the exams over their failure to meet with the required age that makes it possible for them to obtain the National Identity Number.
“Mr. President, I am constrained to call the attention of this hallowed chamber to the widespread hardship young, promising and cerebral Nigerians are currently facing as a result of the decision of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) to include the National Identification Number (NIN) as a precondition for registration of UTME candidates in 2021.
“This action is an inconsiderate and premature decision that has further complicated the already rigorous process of both registering for JAMB examination and procuring the NIN.
“It is pertinent to call the attention of this chamber to the fact that JAMB initially attempted to start the implementation of this policy in 2020, but had to postpone it owing to technical problems and irregularities bedeviling the process of obtaining NIN from the National Identity Management Company (NIMC).
“From all indications, these technical hitches are yet to be addressed; the long queues at NIMC centers are a testimony to the fact that a well organized process is yet to be put in place to ease the stressful process of registration.
“Available statistics indicate that in 2020, more than two million candidates registered for JAMB examination.
“Presently, the introduction of NIN threatens to significantly lower the number of registered candidates in 2021 because majority of these candidates are just attaining the age when they can obtain the NIN.
“This is a brazen infringement on the right to education of young Nigerians who may not be able to meet the deadline to obtain their NIN and register for JAMB.
“Mr. President, you would agree with me on the fact this idea, even though innovative in nature should be suspended until the conditions for obtaining NIN improves tremendously.
“The board (JAMB) already has enough logistical and technical problems to tackle. Adding more complications is counter productive and will only serve as a hindrance to young Nigerians desirous of getting into higher institutions to further their education.”
Accordingly, the Senate mandated the Federal Ministry of Education, JAMB and NIMC to review the implementation of the policy with a view to extending the JAMB registration deadline or suspending this requirement until there is a seamless and well organized process for obtaining the national identity number.
It also urged the Federal Ministry of Education and NIMC to introduce or streamline a simple and decentralised NIN registration process where students would be able to obtain their NIN in their various accredited school premises.