Hundreds of applicants of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Ogun State on Wednesday protested the inability of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to enrol them for their National Identity Cards.
The examination body, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had made the National Identity Number (NIN) a prerequisite for all prospective admission seekers to register for the 2020 UTME.
But the aggrieved applicants, accompanied by some of their parents stormed the Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Abeokuta, the State capital, chanting solidarity songs to register their grievances.
They accused the authorities of the Abeokuta office of the NIMC of using armed policemen to chase them away from the their office located at the Federal Secretariat in Oke-Mosan area of the State.
According to them, many of them had been visiting the NIMC office to enrol for the National Identity cards for the past three weeks but were told by NIMC officials that there was no electricity to power the gadgets used for enrolment.
They also claimed that, before now, officials the NIMC had been collecting N500 from each person to buy fuel for their generator after obtaining the National Identity card form for N50.
They appealed to Jamb to remove NIN as a prerequisite for UTME registration to allow them register for the examination without going through hardships.
An applicant, Oluwatomi Oyindamola who spoke to Uhuru Times said, “Since we have been coming to the NIMC office in Abeokuta for the past two weeks, they have been telling us that there is no electricity and that they have no money to fuel their generator”.
“This is a Federal government establishment and this should not be so. They should have something to fall back on when there is no electricity. They telling us that there is no fuel in their generator is like a fraud, it is like there is something fishy going on. And JAMB needs this card to complete our Jamb registration,” Oyindamola added.
Another applicant, Ewetade Gbolahan said, “Some of us go to their office as early as 6am. They also told us that the government did not give them money to buy fuel for their generator.”
“We need help, Jamb registration is coming up and without the National ID card, we can’t do anything. If government cannot provide the necessary things for the NIMC office to function, maybe Jamb should remove National Identity card as a requirement from registration process”, Ewetade said.
One of the parents, Mrs. Abubakar who spoke to Uhuru Times, called on the government to come to the rescue of the applicants, lamenting that many of their children were going through hardships in enrolling for the National Identity cards.