The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged forgery of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) result by Ejikeme Mmesoma.
Following the adoption of a motion on Wednesday, sponsored by Awaji-Inombek Abiante, a Peoples Democratic Party lawmaker from Rivers State, the lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during plenary.
Information Nigeria reports that since the release of the 2023 UTME results, Mmesoma, a student of Anglican Girls Secondary School in Nnewi, has been attracting accolades from many Nigerians for allegedly being “the top scorer.”
She was however alleged to have manipulated her result to “deceive the public to fraudulently obtain a scholarship and other recognitions,” the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) said.
In a statement on Sunday, the exam body said the student “actually got 249 in the exam and not 362.”
Abiante, leading the debate on motion, said JAMB is ascribing to itself the powers to accuse, investigate and punish without giving the opportunity of a fair hearing.
“The person in question does not have the opportunity to sit here with us to be heard. She may not also have the opportunity to convoke press conferences like JAMB is trying to do,” Abiante said.
According to the lawmaker, it is the duty of parliament to “protect those who cannot protect themselves, especially since the person in question is a minor.”
Sada Soli from Katsina, reacting to the motion, said the app the student printed her result from was previously utilised by JAMB some years back but the examination body stopped using it when “they realised that a similar version of it was cloned.”
“This girl was manipulated by some individuals in order to take advantage of her talents to cash-in on the privileges that come with the highest score.
“I believe the girl is innocent. I have no doubt she is innocent,” Soli said.
On his part, Igariwey Enwo from Ebonyi, said JAMB’s approach to the matter has “failed the test of institutional procedure.”
“JAMB has alleged a very serious criminal offence of forgery. Forgery is a felony. And then JAMB at the same time is also investigating this allegation of forgery when there is supposed to be a presumption of innocence. Something is definitely wrong with that process,” he said.
The motion was unanimously voted for when it was put to a voice vote by Benjamin Kalu, the presiding officer.
The house further constituted an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter, including other affected results, and report back in three weeks.
Moreso, the lawmakers requested that JAMB rescinds the three years ban imposed on the candidate, pending the outcome of the investigation.