By Mojeed Alabi
The 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) kicked off across the country on Thursday with logistic and technical hitches recorded in a few computer-based test centres used for the conduct of the examination.
There was confusion at 3MS Multi-Dynamic Services, a computer-based test centre in Jos, Plateau State, where the centre operator, Augustine Omogbe, was accused of ‘deceiving’ the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on the number of available computers at his centre.
The CBT centre, located close to the National Library in the capital city, was also reported to have experienced the breakdown of about 50 laptops due to nonavailability of power packs.
The development, apart from causing late commencement of the examination at the centre, also made many candidates panic. The rancorous situation led to the invitation of the police who later restored order.
The JAMB Coordinator in the state, Said Yusuf, who confirmed the technical problems, also revealed that the centre’s technical officer, Ahmed Rasaq, who was arrested over the matter, had been released.
He said he also told the centre operator to purchase more power packs for the laptops to ensure smooth conduct of the examination.
“Yes the report (arrest) is true but we have just settled it now. The proprietor has a business issue with some people and since they know UTME would be holding today, they used the opportunity to create confusion. The matter is settled and normalcy has returned,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the State, Mathias Tyopev, when contacted, promised to reach out to confirm the development and get back to our reporter. But as at the time of filing this report, he was yet to get back.
Meanwhile, in a similar development, at the Oduduwa College of Professional Studies along Egbeda-Idimu Road in Lagos, the first set of candidates who were expected to finish the examination by 10 a.m. could not start as at 11.41a.m.
According to an ad-hoc staffer of JAMB, who was on inspection at the centre, many computers had malfunctioned by switching off midway into the examination.
At Wisdom House CBT centre in Ogba, Lagos, examination commenced as scheduled without hitches. However, the only tent provided for the batch 2 candidates could not protect them against the early morning drizzle in Lagos.
Also, at the Global Distant Learning Centre, opposite Federal Ministry of Finance, in Abuja, the official on duty confirmed that some Physics questions have no options as the spaces for options appeared blank on the computers. The same experience was recorded at ECWA College of Technology, Jos.
Meanwhile, in other centres across many states, many independent observers confirmed a smooth and peaceful process.
The 2019 UTME commenced across the country on Thursday and is billed to continue till Wednesday, April 17, when the visually impaired candidates will be taking part.
About 1.8 million candidates registered for the examination and have been distributed to more than 600 computer-based test centres accredited by JAMB for the examination across the country. Each of the centres will hold three batches of the examination on a daily basis with each batch spending two hours.
JAMB has consistently warned candidates, officials and centre owners against the use of prohibited items during the examination. The items include rings, wrist watches, eye glasses, among others.