THE National Examination Council has said that the introduction of biometric capturing of candidates with effect from May/June 2019 Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) will curb examination malpractices, especially impersonation.
Chairman Governing Board of NECO, Dr Abubakar Sadiq, speaking with newsmen in Minna, the Niger State Capital during the Weekend, lamented that examination malpractice has become a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation.
He disclosed that in order to effectively tackle the menace the Council has procured 8,000 units of handheld biometric machines to be deployed during the examination.
The biometric machines and 20 new Hilux Vans procured by NECO were inaugurated by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc Sonny Echono, who was represented by the Director of Human Resources, Ministry of Education, Dr Auwal Koko.
Sadiq insisted that henceforth the biometrics of all candidates sitting for NECO examinations would be verified to checkmate impersonation, he said has become a major problem in the conduct of public examination in Nigeria.
He was upbeat that the introduction of biometric registration and verification of candidates during examinations would reduce the incidence of impersonation by 90 to 95 per cent.
He also revealed that the Council has passed out the use of scratch cards and introduced pin vending, first, to reduce the cost for candidates, while at the same time check the activities of fraudsters.
He noted that the utility vehicles purchased by the Council would tremendously reduce logistical problems encountered during the conduct of examinations, saying examination materials would now arrive their destination on time.
He added that this would also eliminate arbitrary postponement of examinations due to logistics challenges, saying the Council in past had to rely on Independent National Electrical Commission (INEC) vehicles for distribution examination materials to various centres across the country.
According to the NECO board chairman, the last time government procured vehicles for the Council was in 2013.
The Permanent Secretary, Sonny Echono, while commissioning the biometric machines and Pick-up Vans said the items would assist the Council in fighting examination irregularities as well enhance the conduct of the hitch-free and credible examination.
He urged the management of NECO to ensure that the vehicles were well maintained and utilised for the benefit of the nation and humanity.
Acting Registrar, Mr Abubakar Gana, disclosed that the 8,000 biometric machines were procured at the rate of N500 million while the 20 Toyota Hilux vans were procured at 327,800,000.
He said they were procured late last year with full approval from the Governing Board of NECO and the Bureau for Public Procurement.
He said the Council under his watch gives priority attention to staff well, saying this accounted for the prevailing industrial harmony and peaceful atmosphere.
He said NECO has saved well over N2 billion through its prudent management of funds, adding that the agency will save even more in the future as it has fully integrated its transactions into the Treasury Single Account, (TSA).
He noted that leakages were being blocked and reduced to the barest minimum at the agency even as the examination body is ensuring prudent management and utilisation of the nation’s scarce resources.
He said: “We have invited you today to bless some of the modest achievements that we hope will enhance our operations in the areas of logistics and overall security of our examination.
“To this end permit me to mention that late last year we were able to procure 20 single cabin Hilux vans. The last time the council bought vehicles was in 2013.
“We have also bought 8000 units of biometric capture machines, which can verify the identity of candidates as well as record attendance.”