THE Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has shut seven examination centres across Bayelsa State for allegedly violating its rules and regulations.

It was learnt that the shutting of the centres leaves the state with only four centres to cater for about 24,000 candidates.

The State Coordinator of JAMB, Abdusalam Mohammed, spoke during a visit to the leadership of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Ernest Sese Ikoli Press Centre in Yenagoa, the state capital.

Mohammed explained that some of the examination centres were delisted for alleged duplication of the Virtual Private Network (VPN) of their routers.

He said: “Initially, Bayelsa State had 11 examination centres. So far, seven of this number have been delisted from our platform for various infractions. The owners of some of these centres tampered with the VPN of our router. And that is a very big offence.

“They duplicated the VPN by moving the router from one location to another location where they did whatever they liked. This is a very big offence. Others were delisted for overcharging candidates.

“During registration, we sent out a monitoring team and they came back with the report that candidates were charged N5,000 for a service that should ordinarily cost N2,500.”

Mohammed also gave insight into the level of preparedness of the board to conduct examinations amid fear of COVID-19 spread.

He said: “Even before the lockdown was lifted, we had started training our workers on how to attend to candidates. We have also embarked on sensitisation of candidates and provided personal prevention equipment.

“In order to reduce the crowd at our office during registration, we have introduced what we call ‘appointment for candidates’. This means that candidates can only come to us when they have an appointment. The intention is to reduce body contact between workers and candidates.

“Before Coronavirus, we used to do what is called thumb-printing for candidates during registration but that has been stopped in order not to spread the virus. What we now do is that a One-Time Password (OTP) is sent to the candidate. That will now verify the candidate as the original owner of that particular application.

“In the past it was difficult to have 20,000 candidates for JAMB, but this year, the number has skyrocketed to over 24, 000 candidates, meaning that there is an improvement in the enrolment of students in Bayelsa. However, in Bayelsa awareness on our activities is low, so that is why we have come to visit you.”

The State NUT Chairman Samuel Numonengi frowned on the activities of the operators of the delisted examination centres.

He said their actions did not portend a good the future for the state.

Numonengi said: “We cannot stand people jeopardising the future of our children in Bayelsa State. So, it is on this note I want to join you to condemn their actions and encourage parents and candidates to stand up against any form of infraction perpetrated by these individuals that have questionable character.”