Officials of National Examination Council (NECO), external examiners, school proprietor and officials of the ministry of education officials have all been indicted by investigative reports exposing how these stakeholders in the education sector collude to perpetrate corruption and colossal malpractices in NECO organized examinations.
The expose is contained in a two-part undercover investigation by SIGNATURE TV, titled “The Enemy Within – How NECO Officials Collude to Undermine Their Own Exams”, with support from the MacArthur Foundation.
According to the report, NECO officials and their co-travelers conspired to post candidates to special centres, negotiate fees to allow non-candidates sit exams for absentee candidates and make money for themselves while the rot in the education system flourish.
NECO is an examination body in Nigeria with the mandate to conduct Senior Secondary Certificate Examination and the General Certificate in Education in June/July and November/December respectively.
Here are the shocking revelations from SIGNATURE TV reporters nearly one year of going underground to unearth corruption in undermining the education system.
On Monday February 17, 2020, SIGNATURE TV approached an ordinary level coaching centre in Abuja with a request to be registered for the June/July NECO Examination. Having attempted ordinary levels before, Signature TV did not want to receive any coaching from the centre. The centre owner offered more than registration NECO Exams.
He offered to make it possible for our undercover reporter not to even sit the examination. He offered to provide us a non-appearance service in a special Centre at a fee.
The coaching centre owner was the first leg in the web of examination fraud known to Nigerian Education Ministry officials even at the highest level of the Federal Ministry of Education.
He linked us (Signature TV) to one Mrs Munsurat, who would not disclose her other details, except that she is a proprietress of a private school which cannot pass for a community pig’s pen but goes by the exalted name Phebian Kings and Queens College, located in Alagbado area of Kabala West in Kaduna State.
The contact opened the second stage of the fees for results negotiation. SIGNATURE TV had insisted on taking both the English and Mathematics papers and could allow non-appearance for the other subjects.
It is worthy to note that non-appearance means; You pay and the Exam ring provides a hired writer who would sit for the paper in your name. The fee has to be negotiated.
After Twenty-Eight Thousand was agreed the woman gave our undercover reporter a GTB account number 0132019267, which we discovered belonged to one Bashirat Nike Oluwale.
On November 11, the date for mathematics subject, SIGNATURE TV was given a school uniform and with our undercover camera, the entire fraud ring began to unfold.
On the day of the examination for English and Mathematics papers, it was not just a tale of absurd but an expose on how corruption is ruining Nigeria’s education.
Then the absurd, the shame began to unfold. Apparently, the students knew that the school was an examination fraud center. So, they just generally idled away the time while they waited for the answers to the questions.
Some hired writers were stationed outside the exam hall and when they were done, they simply forwarded the answers to the smart phone of the coordinating school teachers. And the students who came in with their smartphones were forwarded the answers to copy. Signature TV reporter of course received the answers on his smart phone.
As the students struggled to copy the answers, some of them could not and then a teacher proceeds to read out the answers to them.
For those students who could not copy the dictated answers, a kind-hearted teacher simply wrote out the answers on the board for them.
Meanwhile, the NECO examiner, who is supposed to ensure that the examination is not compromised having been compromised herself simply looks on while Nigerian children destroy themselves and make nonsense of their future.
SIGNATURE TV also divulged they made efforts in ensuring corruption uncovered in NECO is addressed. However, after the investigative reports were published by Signature TV, NECO set up a six-man committee to unravel how, who and why the NECO organized examination was compromised. SIGNATURE TV reporters and NECO management also held a meeting and resolved to work together to address the challenge. Although the meeting was to be recorded but the NECO team pleaded that as civil servants, they were not permitted to address the press.
The Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, with the support of MacArthur Foundation had in the past amplified corruption reports in Nigeria’s education system during Public Conscience on Radio and Town Hall Meeting.