Abuja, NIGERIA – No fewer than 20 officials, allegedly aiding and abetting examination malpractice have been arrested by the West African Examination Council, WAEC, in its ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, for school candidates.
The Council said that the arrests were made in various parts of the country.
The Head of National Office (HNO) of Council, Mr Patrick Areghan disclosed this on the sidelines of a monitoring exercise he carried out in some schools on Thursday in Lagos.
According to him, the WAEC has since handed over all the culprits to the police for prosecution.
Areghan vowed that the Council would do everything possible to ensure that their prosecution was followed to a logical conclusion.
“The issue of examination malpractice can no longer be treated with kid gloves.
“It is no longer business as usual, as it has completely eroded morals and values in our society. It is taking a dangerous dimension, which, if not tackled, will bring our country to its knees.
“Now, since the commencement of this examination, we have deployed our technology, designed to catch examination cheats, and we are happy with the results we have gotten so far.
“For instance, in Ibadan, Oyo, where we have our zonal office, which takes care of Osun, Kwara and Oyo itself, we made three arrests in a school and for the purpose of confidentiality, I will not mention the name.
“There, a supervisor at a centre, principal and invigilator were all arrested. They were arrested for allegedly snapping and posting the questions to some platforms, thereby aiding and abetting examination malpractices.’’
“Then, in Maiduguri, a supervisor and principal of a school were both arrested and handed over to the police too.
“In Umuahia, a teacher and a supervisor were arrested in a particular school and they have been handed over to the police.
“In Abeokuta, a school proprietor was the first to be caught at the beginning of this examination on May 8, snapping and posting question papers,” he said.
Areghan described the act as a monumental disgrace.
The WAEC official said that the proprietor and a supervisor had since been arrested and also handed over to the police.
He further disclosed that the same situation was also recorded at Osogbo, where a principal, invigilator and chief supervisor were arrested for the same offence.
According to him, in Kaduna, too, a supervisor and an examination official in a school who were caught in the act were arrested and handed over to the police.
He explained that the school, which was ceded to Kaduna, was supposed to be Kano but was ceded because it was closer to Kaduna.
Areghan said that the arrests would continue until the end of the examination.
He urged candidates not to allow their future to be compromised by persons who did not wish them well by promising to assist them pass their examination through illegal means, stressing that WAEC’s examinations could never be accessed illegally.
According to him, all of the culprits caught in the act may have been paid by the unsuspecting candidates and their parents, promising to assist them pass the examination.
“I want to counter this statement that some people are fond of making, which is that our examination questions always leak.
“That does not exist. Our examination is always safe and secured until they get to the candidates in the hall,” he said.
He asserted that WAEC examination questions don’t ever leak and cautioned the media to stop using the word “leak”.
“What actually happens is that, once the examination is about to start, we give the question papers to the supervisors one hour before commencement so that they can travel from the collection point to the various schools, where they will administer the examination.
“Immediately they get to the exam hall, they will open the pack in the name of distributing to candidates and they will snap and post to various designated platforms- WhatsApp, Instagram and others.
“Such persons are members of a syndicate group who collect money,’’ he said.
According to him, once the examination is already in progress, anyone that takes pictures of the papers and posts them will be detected.
Areghan noted that the Council had a method of detecting who snapped, who posted, who it was posted to and which candidate’s question booklet was posted.
According to him, that is when the Council swings to action by rounding all of them up and subsequently handing them over to the police.
“You have been following me around for this monitoring.
“You saw me telling these children that they will hardly have time to access any materials snapped and posted on any platforms because they are already in the hall writing the examination.
“From what we have seen so far today at the schools we visited, I will say that the examination has been going on smoothly. There has not been any challenge beyond our control.
“Of course, you will come across persons who will want to prove smart by cutting corners and trying to get things done unethically, but we have been able to beat them to it.
“There are some that we do not bother ourselves with, as we will deal with such administratively,’’ he added.