Reactions continue to pour in following the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s (JAMB) decision to impose a three-year ban on Ejikeme Mmesoma, who allegedly claimed to have scored 362 in the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), making her the outstanding candidate. Mmesoma, a student of Anglican Girls Secondary School in Anambra State, was recently celebrated and awarded a N3 million scholarship by Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman of Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM) company, following her declaration.

However, on Sunday, JAMB issued a statement refuting Mmesoma’s claims, asserting that her result was manipulated, and her actual score was 249. Subsequently, the board withdrew her result and banned her from participating in any examination for the next three years. This decision has sparked mixed reactions among Nigerians, with some criticizing JAMB for not conducting a thorough investigation before taking action, while others urge the board to investigate and prosecute Mmesoma if she is found guilty.

Salihu Adamu Dadari, a professor at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, expressed concern over the increasing prevalence of result falsification, even at the secondary school level, and emphasized the need to address this corruption. He stated that those responsible for enticing Mmesoma to make the false claim should also face consequences.

The Youth Wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has called on JAMB to put the matter to rest by subjecting Mmesoma to another examination under independent supervision. Mazi Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, the Financial Secretary of the Ohanaeze Youth Wing, described the situation as embarrassing for Mmesoma, JAMB, and Nigeria as a whole. He urged the board to take immediate action to clear its image and that of the nation. The proposal is for an examination supervised by independent observers, ensuring a fair resolution to the case.

In response to the ongoing controversy, JAMB’s spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, reaffirmed the board’s stance that Mmesoma’s UTME result is undeniably fake. Dr. Benjamin also clarified that JAMB stopped issuing Notification of Result slips after the 2021 UTME due to candidates falsifying them. Since 2022, the board has been issuing actual UTME Result Slips, complete with the photograph of each candidate, to combat result falsification.

The case of Ejikeme Mmesoma has ignited a debate over examination integrity and the consequences of result manipulation in Nigeria. JAMB’s decision to ban Mmesoma and the subsequent reactions from various quarters demonstrate the importance of maintaining credibility in the examination system. As the investigation unfolds, Nigerians await the resolution of this case and hope for measures to prevent such incidents in the future.