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Court orders extension as JAMB makes NIN mandatory for candidates

…2021 UTME/DE registration begins April 8

Bid by prospective candidates to gain admission into the various tertiary institutions across the country may hang in the balance as the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), yesterday, said all candidates must possess and present their National Identification Number (NIN), before they can register for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The examination body stated that the directive became imperative for candidates preparing for the UTME, which would begin on April 8 to May 15, in order to check “sharp practices and the usual stereotype” procedures of the past. The directive by JAMB, however, emerged on a day Justice Maureen Onyetenu of a Federal High Court in Lagos, ordered the extension of the deadline for NIN by two months.

Releasing the schedule for this year’s registration and examination date, JAMB, in a statement made available to journalists yesterday in Abuja, disclosed that the UTME would hold from June 5 to 19. The Governing Board of JAMB noted that as from this year’s registration, all candidates must possess and present their National Identification Number (NIN), before they can register for the examination.

The statement, signed by Head, Public Affairs and Protocol JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, also noted that candidates who wish to sit for the Mock JAMB must register before 24th April, as the mock examination would hold on 30th of same month. The statement reads: “The Governing Board of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) met at its meeting of 22nd March, 2021 and decided that: “For any person to be registered for UTME/DE, he/she must supply his/ her National Identity Number (NIN). It is, therefore, mandatory for participation in the 2021 Registration Exercise. “Registration will take place in 700 centres across the country.

The list is available in all the state offices and JAMB’s website. The registration exercise will start on Thursday, 8th April to Saturday, 15th May, 2021.“Candidates are also to note that the registration for DE applicants would run concurrently with that of UTME candidates.

There would be no extension of time for the sale of the UTME/DE application documents. “Optional Mock will be held on Friday, 30th April, 2021 (for those who indicate interest and registered before 24th of April, 2021). The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination would hold from Saturday, 5th to Saturday, 19th June, 2021.

“The venue of the examination will be at any of the centres in the candidate’s chosen examination town. The registration fee for the 2021 application documents is N3, 500 and N500 for the recommended Reading Text. Information regarding other registration processes and requirements would be made available on the Board’s website and advertised in the electronics and print media from 5th April, 2021.” Meanwhile, Justice Onyetenu gave the extension order, while delivering a ruling in a suit filed by a former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, to challenge the legality of the exercise.

The Federal Government, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Patami, were joined as first to fourth respondents in the suit.

In the suit, Ubani contended that the initial two weeks ultimatum (now extended to April 6, 2021) given to telecommunication operators to block SIM cards of Nigerians who have not registered their SIM cards with NIN, if allowed, will infringe on his constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression, right to own moveable property and right to life.

He, therefore, prayed the court for an order halting the said ultimatum and extending the deadline. Other prayers made by Ubani includes: “A declaration that the ultimatum given to telecommunications operators by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards that are not registered with NIN, is grossly inadequate and will not only work severe hardship, but will likely infringe on his fundamental rights (and that of millions of other Nigerians) to freedom of expression as guaranteed by section 39(1) (2) of the Constitution.

“He added that the action also violates Section 44(1) of the Constitution which prohibits the compulsory acquisition of right or interest over moveable property. “A declaration that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cases in Nigeria presently, the deadline given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th respondents to the applicant and over 200 million Nigerians to register their SIM cards with NIN, will lead to a rush, thereby resulting to clustering of the applicant and other Nigerian citizens in a NIN registration centre, subjecting him to the possibility of easily contracting the COVID-19 virus, and such will amount to a violation of his fundamental right to life as protected by Section 33(1) of the Constitution.

“An order halting the said ultimatum given by the 1st, 3rd and 4th Respondents to telecommunication operators to block all SIM Cards that are not registered with NIN”. Justice Onyetenu, in her ruling, granted all the prayers made by Ubani.

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