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Syndicates Spread Fraud, Issue Fake Results to Desperate Admission Seekers


Syndicates Spread Fraud, Issue Fake Results to Desperate Admission Seekers

Punch Newspaper

After posing as a candidate in the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination on Facebook, DEBORAH TOLU-KOLAWOLE was approached by a syndicate of the UTME and West African Senior School Certificate Examination result manipulators who extort desperate candidates for ‘result upgrade’

In Nigeria, scoring what is considered a low mark in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination or the West African Senior School Certificate Examination could indicate the end of one’s academic dreams. This is due to the desperation for admission into tertiary institutions, most especially, universities, to study choice courses such as medicine, law, engineering, and others.

In 2018, an 18-year-old student simply identified as Loveth reportedly committed suicide over her inability to reach the cut-off mark in the 2018 UTME. Loveth was said to have scored 163 which made her take her life. Though the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board for a while now has stopped imposing cut-off marks on institutions, the desperation for obtaining high scores to beat cut-off marks for choice courses such as medicine, and law has continued to put the candidates, teachers, and even parents on edge.

JAMB during its 2023 policy meeting held on June 24, 2023 announced that a total of 452,443 candidates during the 2023 UTME indicated interest in the 78,578 admission quotas for medicine. With a high number of candidates jostling for limited admission quotas, this means that admission lists would be streamlined to accommodate the best of the best.

Eche was arrested in 2019 for upgrading his UTME result. According to JAMB, Eche scored 153 in the 2019 UTME but connived with an examination syndicate that upgraded his score to 290. Oloyede explained that the suspect was apprehended after a delegation of the Public Complaints Commission paid the board a visit following various complaints by aggrieved candidates who sat for the 2019 UTME.

“We decided to pick three out of the complainants to address their issues and he happened to be the first person we picked and he wrote a letter of complaint to us knowing full well that he faked his result. What we did was invite him to come and pick up his admission letter and he came.

“Now, what such people do not know is that we have a barcode for every result which helps us verify its authenticity, but this fake one has the barcode of a supermarket and was saying invalid barcode on our platform. We have checked our platform and seen where he has checked his result three consecutive times via 55019 and was replied the same with his original result which is 153, yet he insists that he did not know the one with 290 was fake,” he said.

Oloyede further explained that the suspect confessed to the crime after evidence was discovered from his phone and another on his computer where he initially faked a 200 score before upgrading it to 290. Following the exposure of Ejikeme and Atung by JAMB, our correspondent began an investigation into how UTME candidates come up with doctored results as well as corresponding print-outs and “JAMB text messages” to back up their claims.

During investigations, our correspondent learnt that most of the “UTME and WASSCE result upgraders” attract clients through popular social media platforms such as Facebook. A simple “JAMB upgrade” typed into the search bar on Facebook brought up a list of UTME result merchants. Our correspondent observed that some of these result ‘upgraders’ did not upload their real names on Facebook but shared testimonies of upgraded results and WhatsApp contacts where they could be reached.

Our correspondent began tracking the syndicates to understand how they upgraded results and the processes involved, including the amounts charged for the service. Posing as a candidate desperate to gain admission into the university with an upgraded JAMB result, the correspondent interacted with several members of the syndicate on Facebook. She informed them she had 150 in the 2023 UTME but needed an upgraded score of 249 to be able to apply for medicine.

In her interaction with a different person, the correspondent pretended to be the mother of a UTME candidate who scored 160 but needed an upgrade to 300 for her daughter.

In all, about four syndicate members were engaged-three for the UTME upgrade and one for WASSCE result upgrade. One of them used the pseudonym ‘Channels Television’ on Facebook, but the account number he provided for payment revealed her name as Blessing Oiza Samuel.

A post she made on her Facebook account on June 12, read, “JAMB UPGRADE! JAMB UPGRADE! JAMB UPGRADE! If you want to upgrade your jamb scores to 200, 230, 250, 270, 290,350, kindly add us now on this number {08144978250}. This is my WhatsApp number. The upgrading is still going on now. I can get your JAMB result upgraded in 24 hours.”

Our correspondent contacted the phone number on WhatsApp as requested and posed as the mother of a UTME candidate who scored 160 but needed an upgrade to 300 for admission.

Without wasting much time, she said, “To upgrade your score to 300 will cost you N20k, ma.” When our correspondent begged her for a lower amount, she sent a voice note which is transcribed thus: “Good morning madam. Upgrading your child’s JAMB score to 300 will cost you N20k. It will cost N20k because you know this thing is not something we are doing openly. We are hiding to do it for students. We are just helping students so I can help you for N15,000. Let me see if I can talk to my colleagues.”

She subsequently asked this writer to send the details of the candidate, including name, registration number, examination centre, and time of exam.

When our correspondent expressed security concerns about the safety of her supposed daughter, Samuel said, “Don’t worry about that, nobody is exposing us. She will bypass the portal.” After the conversation, she proceeded to share her UBA account number 2220739308 for payment.

Our correspondent also reached out to one Ihenyen Godstime. The correspondent disguised as a candidate who scored 150 in UTME but told his parents that JAMB had not released his results. After obtaining his WhatsApp contact from Facebook, Godstime demanded N10,000 for an upgrade.

“Where have you been while others were upgrading their scores?”, he asked. “You will forward to me your JAMB registration number, your full name, and your JAMB centre to upgrade your result. To upgrade it this morning will cost you N10,000.”

When asked if he could charge a lower fee, Godstime said, “I can’t reduce anything because it is already getting late. If it was earlier before your exam, it would have been reduced but now, no reduction.” After this, he sent his GTB account number 022259509.

In response to doubts that the upgrade may not be genuine, Godstime assured the new result would be printed directly from the JAMB portal. “It is from the JAMB portal you will print it out. You will go to any cyber cafe and print it out,’’ he noted.

Further findings revealed that the issue of UTME score upgrade was not a new development as our correspondent tracked a series of Facebook postings on the scam dating back to 2012.

One of the accounts identified as “JAMB upgrade” has over 1,000 followers on Facebook. It has on its bio the following, “We can upgrade your JAMB score with additional 100 marks.”

Another account tracked with the name JAMB upgrade centre had a total of 534 followers and even advised candidates to upgrade their JAMB scores before the examination dates.

A post dated March 5, 2020 read, “JAMB CBT 2020: Upgrade your JAMB result to 250 and above before your exam date. If you are interested, contact the JAMB official now on: 08105039492. JAMB scores can only be upgraded before the JAMB date. T & C (Terms and conditions) apply.’’

Another account, ‘JAMB upgrading 2020’ posted requirements candidates must fulfil for manipulation of results. The post read, ‘’Below are the complete details needed by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board 2020 for JAMB score upgrade. Notice: We Will Do It Before You Pay; Your JAMB registration number, seat number, centre number, state; registered subjects, and registered phone numbers. Text/call: 07046892418; Whatsapp link

‘’The above details are needed to upgrade 2020 JAMB score. Also note that from 250 to 280 is the maximum reach for a CBT score upgrade. After work is done, it takes a maximum of 30 minutes for the results to reflect on the JAMB server.

“However candidates are advised to recheck the upgraded result and print it out for better use. It is important to note that this upgrade is done through a reliable connection and no site is better than ours. JAMB result upgrade is N10,000 as recommended by the National Headquarters in (Abuja).”

Checks also exposed some individuals who specialised in doctoring the results of WASSCE. A Ghanaian who simply identified himself as SS assured me he could help with the upgrade of WAEC results for a fee. SS, whose real name was later discovered to be Samuel Kwado Nkrumah through the bank account he provided, said, “I can help you do the results upgrade today and it’s authentic. Hope you are having the details of the results. Send me your details. Your full name, Index number, name of the school, the year and list all the subjects for me.”

When our correspondent told him she could not remember her index number, he said, “I can find the index number for you. Hope we can finish talking about the price. Everything will cost you N30,000. You can send advance payment right now and I will make the results for you. Name: Samuel Kwadwo Nkrumah; Telephone +233551195870, MoneyGram; Ghana Accra.’’

HOW UTME, WAEC upgraders operate

Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the fake results syndicate uses Adobe Photoshop to deceive its victims. An operator of a JAMB CBT centre who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “They use a computer tool called Adobe Photoshop to deceive people. What they do is scan an original result of a candidate, edit it to a high score using Adobe and use it to scam unsuspecting students. The unfortunate thing is that the upgrade won’t be effected on the JAMB portal. Candidates need to understand that there is no way they can upgrade their results. Once you fail, you have failed.”

Findings also showed that an application on Google Play Store could generate fake JAMB results. The ‘JambFun-Fake Jamb Result Maker’ bears the JAMB logo and gives an air of authenticity to the generated results.

The app also has all the features of the regular exam slip as well as blank spaces for the student’s bio-data, subjects, score, and a barcode. At the bottom of the opening page of the app, there is an action button with a green colour that carries the inscription, “Fill out the form.

When the ‘Fill the form’ action button is clicked, the app takes you to the next page which allows you to fill all the empty spaces with the bio-data. When the bio-data is correctly filled, the user would be required to click the preview button. The app would subsequently display a fake JAMB result, just like the authentic copy from the JAMB website.

But a WAEC official said those involved in the results racketeering were simply deceiving themselves.

In response to inquiries by our correspondent, the official of the exam body stated, “Well, I can tell you for free that these people are just deceiving themselves. What they don’t understand is that you cannot clone an original WAEC certificate. The certificates we issue have barcodes that can be scanned to verify a student’s result.

‘’Also, we have schools and even companies that write to us to verify the status of people’s certificates. That is why you see some students have problems by the time they get to their final year because their results could not be verified.”

A professor of Mathematics at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Gbolahan Bolarin, called for due diligence by universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. He also advised parents to properly guide their children and not pressurize them.

“This exposure has shown that our universities, colleges of education, and polytechnics need to exert due diligence, especially during the process of granting admissions. Yes, CAPS (Central Admission Processing System) from JAMB is now doing the job but that does not excuse anything. Parents should also be careful not to over-pressurize their children. Most of these issues border on those who say their children must study one particular course or nothing else,’’ the don observed.

The Secretary General of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mike Ene, encouraged parents and teachers to adequately monitor their children/pupils and discourage them from all forms and potential forms of malpractices. According to him, certificate forgery which is a form of malpractices leads no well.

“This lies on the hands of teachers and parents. These children need to be monitored and made to understand that malpractices lead nowhere. We now have advanced technological intervention which will expose any form of forgery so it is very difficult for anyone to think he or she can forge a result and go Scott-free. The issue of certificate forgery is fast becoming a culture in Nigeria. Even when you read the news you hear of senior officials being accused of certificate forgery, politicians also. Law enforcement agencies should also partner with education agencies to ensure that culprits when found out are made to pay for their crimes.”

A Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr Charles Umeh noted that individuals who forge results do not believe they can pass through hard work.

“Students don’t believe that they can pass exams with hard work. Now that people are beginning to recognize excellence, they always feel that it does not matter how they get it. Our society celebrates people who have made it without knowing how they made it. When we were in the university, we hardly saw people driving cars but today, undergraduates are driving big cars and nobody is asking them what they are doing. When you ask some of the younger ones, they will say going to school is useless. So, cheating is gradually pilfering into the psyche of the young ones, and they think the only way to excellence is when you cheat.”

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