The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has confirmed that the ongoing admission of students at the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) has been halted over alleged infractions.
An Economic Confidential investigation, published on Sunday, showed that the management led by Vice Chancellor Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah overlooked the Admission Committee of the University and allegedly contracted the admission process.
The development caught the attention of JAMB, which ordered the university to suspend the 2019/2020 admission process for not meeting its guideline of uploading all admissions on the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS).
The embattled VC, Na’Allah, was said to have addressed a press conference recently where he explained that the usual process was jettisoned over ‘irregularities’.
Under normal circumstances, the university regulations provide that admissions of students be handled by the Admission Committee which is headed by a chairman.
An academic staff, who affirmed that the team had since been moribund, said: “The committee is less functional; the normal practice of admitting students at Departments has been abolished. The 2019/2020 admission process has been contracted to a private company contrary to university practice”.
Checks revealed that UNIABUJA Acceptance Fee for a newly admitted student which was N4,500 is now N30,000.
Furthermore, the institution, which never charged a fee for collection of Original Certificate after graduation now charge N30,000 – believed to be higher than fee applicable in any state university in Nigeria.
Findings also revealed that graduates currently line up in large numbers at the UNIABUJA Convocation Square for collection of their certificates after the management threatened to increase the amount at the expiration of one-week period.
The university management also allegedly reversed the existing Senate decision on examination results. The rule states that results from Departments be forwarded to the Senate through the Senate Business Committee within six weeks after the semester examinations.
However, the new rule, which has not been ratified by the Senate, expects lecturers to turn in students’ results 10 days after the end of the semester examinations.
Senate members, in their protest, had described the order as impracticable, warning that such would lead to allocation of marks to students in an effort to beat the deadline.
Each lecturer in Humanities Faculty currently handles between 400 to 700 scripts depending on the course, while a lecturer in Management Sciences marks between 1,000 to 2,000 scripts depending on the course.
This led to a resolution by UNIABUJA Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) that none of its members would comply with the 10-day period for results submission. They insisted that the ratified Senate rule of 6 weeks stands and that the union will not honour an unapproved decision.
Additionally, the Office of the Vice Chancellor has allegedly taken over the issuance of coupons for about 6,000 bed spaces in student hostels, against the normal practice in which the VC only has a percentage of the available accommodation. The Student Affairs Office that is statutorily responsible for the issuance has allegedly been sidelined.
UNIABUJA Deputy Registrar, Habib Yakoob told Economic Confidential that all allegations were unfounded.
He added that some staff were afraid of the ongoing restructuring which has turned the table against those who were used to “business as usual practice.
“I am not aware of any memo from JAMB suspending our admission process because of irregularities. But I can assure you that those who volunteered information to you are afraid of the new order because they are unarguably beneficiaries of the old order”, Yakoob said.
JAMB Head of Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin, confirmed the sanction slammed on UNIABUJA.
He reiterated that the examination board has the mandate to correct any lapses detected in the admission process of any university.
“This is a directive from the Honourable Minister of Education that any irregularity on admission process must be reversed and that the University of Abuja is not an exception”, Benjamin stated.