A human rights lawyer, Mr. Gozie Moneke, has dragged the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board before the Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, demanding N3.4bn damages for what he termed the violation of the fundamental rights of about 1.7 million candidates who registered for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.
Moneke is praying the court to order JAMB to refund N2,000 to each of the 1.7 million candidates.
He said the exercise, which took physical, mental, financial and psychological tolls on the candidates, their parents and guardians, violated the candidate’s fundamental right to the dignity guaranteed by Section 34 (1) (a) of the 1999 constitution.
Moneke also demanded the immediate refund of the fees of N2,500 and N700 imposed on the candidates for data correction and Computer-Based Test centre registration charges respectively.
He said, “These extortionate and exploitative fees are in violation of candidates’ right to dignity to human person guaranteed under Section 34 (1) (a) of the Nigerian constitution and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification & Enforcement) Act, 1983.”
Moneke accused JAMB of providing candidates with the UTME syllabus and other information relevant to the examination only in an Internet-enabled compact disc, which, he said, amounted to clear discrimination against thousands of candidates who lacked access to the computer or the Internet.
“This process subjected the candidates to disability by being prevented from preparing adequately for the examination which violated their right to freedom from discrimination guaranteed under Section 42 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right,” the lawyer contended.
He is, therefore, seeking “an order compelling the respondent to refund all the candidates for the 2017 UTME the sum of N700 each being the exploitative fee paid as CBT centre registration fee.
“An order compelling the respondent to refund each of the candidates for the 2017 UTME who paid for it, the exploitative sum of N2,500 levied on them by the respondent as data correction fee.”
He urged the court to make an order restraining JAMB from imposing on prospective candidates “the same cumbersome, exploitative and discriminative application procedure prescribed by it for the 2017 UTME application process.”
The court has yet to fix a date for the hearing of the suit.