Immoral texts: JAMB, stakeholders review controversial book

Following the public outrage against some textbooks recommended by the National Examination Council (NECO) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for candidates sitting their examinations, JAMB is set to order the removal of the controversial portions in the recommended book, with the titled: In Dependence.

The new development has followed the report of some experts including the leadership of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, who have taken time to critique the book on the order of JAMB. At a meeting convened in Abuja by the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, which was attended by the petitioner, that is, the Head of Crescent School, Lagos, Alhaja Fatimah Mahmud-Oyekan, JAMB shared the findings and recommendations of the experts with those in attendance.

According to Oloyede, though the agreement with the publisher of the book, Cassava Republic, had been signed by his predecessor, he had earlier opposed the recommendation of the book based on his personal belief that it was not ideal for the students in terms of moral and ethical standards.

The meeting was also attended by the President of the National Parent Teachers Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haliru Danjuma; Representative of the Christian Pilgrimage Commission, Dr. Shadrack Ukuma; the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies at the University of Abuja, Prof. Adegboyega Kolawole, who represented the President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Prof. Olu Obafemi, and members of some selected media organisations.

The composition of the participants, according to the JAMB registrar, was aimed at bringing on board all stakeholders, who had input in the criticisms. It would be recalled that a petition addressed to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and signed by Alhaja Mahmud Oyekan and the Chairman of the school’s PTA, Alhaji Aliyu Gudaji, had accused NECO and JAMB of using some morally corrupt textbooks for their examinations.

The petition had gone viral on social media, and particularly WhatsApp. Apart from “In Dependence,” written by Sarah Ladipo Manyika and recommended by JAMB, the petitioners also identified “The Precious Child,” by Queen O. Okweshine and “The Tears of a Bride” by Oyekunle Oyedeji, which were recommended by NECO as books that “glamorise acts of indecency such as rape, violence, kidnapping, girl defilement and sexualisation of knowledge.” According to the petitioners, the writers threw caution to the wind by using vulgar languages to describe open sexual scenes that could breed rape and other forms of abuses among the innocent pupils. But, reacting to JAMB’s corrective measures, Mahmud-Oyekan commended the registrar for being proactive, responsive and responsible; saying if all agencies of government could emulate the new attitude of JAMB leadership, Nigeria would be a better place for all to live.

She said: “I must commend this initiative of JAMB. We are not only impressed, but we are also dazed because this is new to our clime. We wrote the petition not to run anybody or institution down, but as educators we have trust to keep, and in the face of rising moral decadence, social vices including violent rape, harassment and molestation of girls, encouraging books of this nature could only complicate the matter.”

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