No NIN No UTME:
The National Identification Number (NIN) is now more important than ever to candidates planning to take the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as they would not be able to register without it. However, enrolling for the NIN is not a tea party
Registration for next year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) would be different. The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) has informed intending candidates that registration for the examination would only be possible with their National Identification Number (NIN).
Its spokesman, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, urged prospective candidates to get their NIN to avoid missing out on the 2020 UTME, which would open for registration in January.
He said: “We want to further appeal and remind prospective candidates on the need to get themselves registered centrally under the NIN scheme.
“They must consider this as compulsory, if they intend to participate in the examination when the time comes. There is no other means of acquiring our registration documents for the examination except through the NIN and that is why we are calling on them now to intensify efforts in getting registered to avoid ‘Had I Known’.
“No excuses will be entertained and that is the essence of this constant reminder so that nobody will be left out.”
According to the NIMC website, the NIN “is a set of numbers assigned to an individual upon successful enrolment. Enrolment consists of the recording of an individual’s demographic data and capture of the 10 fingerprints, head-to-shoulder facial picture and digital signature, which are all used to cross-check data in the National Identity Database to confirm that there is no previous entry of the same data.”
JAMB’s interest in the NIN is in its usefulness in managing logistics and checking fraud.
The NIN would help JAMB harmonise the data of candidates for the UTME to address the challenges of underage registration, examination malpractice, multiple registration, and reduce registration costs.
On underage registration for the UTME, JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, is particularly interested in how the NIN would help weed out candidates not up to 15.
During a meeting of JAMB, NIMC, and the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in Abuja, Oloyede said: “So, for me, if we have 15 years as they have agreed, nobody who is below 15 years should register; and anybody who is below 15 let’s come and address that person specifically.”
Registration journey ahead of candidates
The NIMC began registering Nigerians for the NIN in September 2010 and had registered over 36.6 million and legal citizens aged zero and above as at last September.
On the average, about 1.6 million candidates register for the UTME yearly. It means about that number of candidates may need to get the NIN if they have not already done so before they can attempt registering for next year’s examination for admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
However, enrolment for the NIN is not without hassles. Though no deadline has been announced for the NIN, since last year, the Federal Government made it mandatory for anyone seeking to obtain the international passport to get the NIN before processing the travel document. So, candidates registering for the UTME are not the only group of people in need of the NIN for official use.
Registration for the NIN entails the enrollee visiting designated NIMC centres or local government area secretariats to fill forms, do biometrics (photographs and fingerprints). Once done, the enrollee is asked to return, usually after two weeks, for the NIN.
However, the process is not that straight forward and involves long waits and delays – at a time no national deadline has been announced. Some people even bribe to shorten their wait time at the centre.
A mother of three told The Nation she had to pay N1,500 to do her biometrics at the NIMC, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos when she needed to renew her international passport.
‘’At first, I wanted to wait but when I realised I would save time, I just paid the N1,500. I observed that the NIMC workers have their customers who pay them. So, while others on the queue are waiting to be captured, one official would just come to the person capturing and say, ‘after the one you’re doing, do this, this, and this people.’ Another official would come and tell the person to do ‘these 1,2,3, 4 for me.’ All this while, people who did not pay were on the queue and the queue would not move,” she said.
Sunday, a resident of Ikotun, Lagos lamented that when he attempted to register for his National ID Card, it was a daunting task because the centre was crowded and not only that, there was shortage of manpower to attend to the large crowd.
He queried why the NIN would be made mandatory for candidates seeking to write UTME because it is not always easy getting enrolled at NIMC centres.
He said: “I do not know why young prospective candidates would be made to undergo the stress of registering for NIN. Even those of us who are old did not find it easy to register let alone getting the National ID card. I just hope the NIMC will make sure the candidates are enrolled in time for the examination.”
A prospective UTME candidate who spoke to The Nation at a tutorial centre in Lagos appealed to the NIMC to ensure there were enough personnel to attend to those who want to enrol because, according to her, when she got a centre around Ikola, a Lagos suburb, to register, there was only one agent attending to a large number of people.
“When I got to an enrolment centre around Ikola, there was only one agent attending to a large number of people. It was frustrating, so I had to leave. Even a friend who had got there early told me she could not register for the NIN,” said the candidate who simply called herself Rose.
Awareness still low
Though JAMB has made its stand on NIN clear since September, awareness is still low among prospective candidates.
Most of the prospective candidates interviewed by The Nation said they did not know about NIN being mandatory for the UTME.
A candidate, who simply called himself Timileyin, noted that he had not registered for NIN. He decried the lack of awareness. He said he did not hear of it not until his friend who saw it on JAMB’s Twitter handle called his attention to it.
He said: “The awareness generated on the rule is not enough. I did not hear it on radio or television. A friend called my attention to it, and all efforts to register have been fruitless because many candidates are trying to register at the same time. Nobody wants to be left out because the examination is fast approaching.”
A parent approached by The Nation, who did not want to be named, said she had not hear anything concerning NIN enrolment for UTME registration. She wondered when such pronouncement was made.