The Joint Admission Matriculation Board has described as untrue claims by Esther Abiona that she was denied the opportunity of registering for the 2023 United Tertiary Matriculation Examination on the grounds of her disability.
The 18-year-old admission seeker is a person living with disability after losing five fingers on her right hand.
Abiona had in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, claimed that her incapability to provide 10 fingers for biometric verification was responsible for the failure of the JAMB registration officers to capture her in the system for the 2023 registration.
She also claimed that on reaching the board’s headquarters in Abeokuta for an explanation, she was told by a registration officer to go to the national headquarters, Abuja, for her registration.
According to her, her parents could not afford the trip, making her lose out on the 2023 admission process.
This is despite the fact that she had paid in full for the registration and presented receipts of payment to the officials.
Abiona also noted that she wrote the 2022 UTME and applied to study Medical Laboratory Science at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, but had not been offered admission yet, which made her apply for the 2023 cycle, in order not to lose out on both ends.
When contacted for a response to the allegations, JAMB’s spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin, said it was not true that Abiona was denied the opportunity to register solely on the grounds of her disability, noting that the JAMB registration portal catered to all issues relating to matters of disability of all kinds.
“When there is a challenge in capturing 10 fingers, the officers are meant to capture the fingers that are available and write a report on why the others could not be captured,” he told Saturday PUNCH.
Furthermore, in a rejoinder titled, “The True Story of Esther Abiona – JAMB”, a copy of which was sent to The PUNCH on Tuesday evening, Benjamin stated that Abiona was not saying all the truth in the matter.
This is as the JAMB spokesperson also noted that the admission seeker had registered for the UTME examination twice – 2021 and 2022 despite her disability– before the 2023 cycle, which was unsuccessful for unknown reasons.
He said, “Ms. Abiona registered for UTME at Mountain Top University CBT Centre, Ogun State, at 4.46 pm. on 12th May 2021. Given her obvious condition and in line with the guidelines, she was registered with five fingers and five toes. She applied for MBBS at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. Unfortunately, she did not meet the requirements for admission into any course.
“Again, just as it was in 2021, she was registered with five fingers and five toes on 8th March 2022, at 3:24 pm in Oye-Ekiti for the UTME and applied to Federal University, Oye -Ekiti, to study Medical Laboratory Science
While this was being processed, she suddenly changed to Microbiology last month (February 2023).
The Board felt the change to Microbiology was unnecessary because she could still make her first choice and was investigating the reason for the change. That was where we were when she went to the media.”