The house of representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged forgery of the unified tertiary matriculation examination (UTME) result by Ejikeme Mmesoma.
The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during plenary on Wednesday, following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Awaji-Inombek Abiante, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker from Rivers.
Since the release of the 2023 UTME results, Mmesoma, a student of Anglican Girls Secondary School in Nnewi, has been attracting accolades from many Nigerians for allegedly being “the top scorer”.
However, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), alleged that she manipulated her result to “deceive the public to fraudulently obtain a scholarship and other recognitions”.
In a statement on Sunday, the exam body said the student “actually got 249 in the exam and not 362”.
However, Mmesoma dismissed the forgery allegation against her, insisting that she printed her result from the board’s portal.
Leading the debate on motion on Wednesday, Abiante said JAMB is ascribing to itself the powers to accuse, investigate and punish without giving the opportunity of a fair hearing.
“The person in question does not have the opportunity to sit here with us to be heard. She may not also have the opportunity to convoke press conferences like JAMB is trying to do,” Abiante said.
The lawmaker said it is the duty of parliament to “protect those who cannot protect themselves, especially since the person in question is a minor”.
Contributing to the motion, Sada Soli from Katsina, said the app the student printed her result from was previously utilised by JAMB some years back but the examination body stopped using it when “they realised that a similar version of it was cloned”.
“This girl was manipulated by some individuals in order to take advantage of her talents to cash-in on the privileges that come with the highest score,” Soli said.
“I believe the girl is innocent. I have no doubt she is innocent.”
Also speaking, Igariwey Enwo from Ebonyi, said JAMB’s approach to the matter has “failed the test of institutional procedure”.
“JAMB has alleged a very serious criminal offence of forgery. Forgery is a felony. And then JAMB at the same time is also investigating this allegation of forgery when there is supposed to be a presumption of innocence. Something is definitely wrong with that process,” he said.
The motion was unanimously voted for when it was put to a voice vote by Benjamin Kalu, the presiding officer.
The house constituted an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter, including other affected results, and report back in three weeks.
The lawmakers also asked JAMB to rescind the three years ban imposed on the candidate. pending the outcome of the investigation.