JAMB sanctions officials over harassment of hijab wearing candidate at Lagos UTME Centre

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  • The Board deeply regretted the incident and, on investigation discovered, that this particular incident or others in the past, is not linked to any of its examination guidelines but rather a product of the misplaced priority of some of the Board’s accredited partners or officials who claimed ignorance of the Board’s guidelines on accreditation, which ensures that all candidates are screened allowing only female officials to screen female candidates before allowing them to gain entrance into the hall.
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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has reacted to the harassment of a female candidate at a Lagos Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination centre for donning a Muslim head covering, hijab.

JAMB in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Dr Fabian Benjamin said the officials involved have been sanctioned “to serve as a deterrent to others, who might wish to toe the same line …”

The statement reads in full:

RE: LAGOS CENTRE STOPS HIJAB-WEARING CANDIDATES AS UTME COMMENCES

The attention of the Board was drawn to an unfortunate incident at the Bafuto Institute, Ile-Iwe Bus Stop, Ejigbo, Lagos, where it was reported by Muslim News of Sunday, 21st April, 2024, and other platforms, that a candidate donning hijab was asked to remove her headcover during the accreditation process  before being allowed into the examination hall.

The Board deeply regretted the incident and, on investigation discovered, that this particular incident or others in the past, is not linked to any of its examination guidelines but rather a product of the misplaced priority of some of the Board’s accredited partners or officials who claimed ignorance of the Board’s guidelines on accreditation, which ensures that all candidates are screened allowing only female officials to screen female candidates before allowing them to gain entrance into the hall.

This situation was instantly addressed by a senior official of the Board at the centre and the candidate in question allowed in after the usual checks with her hijab.

However, since ignorance of the law is not an excuse, the  officials have been appropriately sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to others, who might wish to toe the same line going forward.

Its worthy of note that the Board, as a national institution, has no policy barring candidates from sporting the religious paraphernalia peculiar to their religious persuasions as these are the facts of everyday life in Nigeria, which everyone should have been familiar with by now.

Furthermore, the Board assures the general public that this issue would be properly investigated, as it had done in past incidents, to prevent a recurrence and nothing would be swept under the carpet.

The Board is committed to the discharge of its statutory role of ensuring that suitably-qualified candidates are selected for admission into the nation’s tertiary institutions and would not allow anything or anyone to detract it from the pursuit of this noble goal.

Meanwhile, the conduct 2024 UTME, which commenced on Friday, 19th April, 2024, had been seamless as over 1.2million candidates would have successfully taken the examination by Monday, 22nd April, 2024.

Fabian Benjamin, Ph.D.JAMB PCA

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