Nigerians have lost over N900 billion in examination fees to exam malpractice in the last 20 years, according to Exam Ethics Marshal International (EEMI), an NGO.
Mr Ike Onyechere, the Chairman of the organisation, said this while fielding questions on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that exam malpractice had become an organised criminal activity controlled by syndicates who, when caught, are not punished.
“The exam bodies have organised exams for 84 million candidates from 1996 till now; of that 84 million candidates, you (exam bodies) have cancelled 9.9 million results.
“Now if you want to talk in monetary terms, having cancelled those results, if you calculate the exam fees that were lost, you are talking about N900 billion lost and nothing happened.
“ Exam malpractice has become an organised criminal activity controlled by syndicates like money laundering syndicates, kidnapping syndicates and so on.
“The only difference is that exam malpractice is more lucrative; again, it is risk free; nothing happens to the people that are doing it; and that is our greatest challenge.
“The syndicates that operate are not hidden; they all operate magic centres; every exam, there is a migration from where they can supervise them to where they cannot supervise them.
“And we know them; exam bodies we know them; all of us we know them;
“We have announced 6,500 magic centres that are found; nothing has happened to the syndicates, nothing happened to the operators.’’
The chairman called on law enforcement agencies to adequately prosecute and convict exam malpractice culprits, to serve as a deterrent to others.
According to him, if exam malpractice is not addressed, the anti-corruption war of the present administration will not succeed.
“The onus is on the law enforcement agencies to be able to punish this thing.
“And the matter is even more critical because we’ve reached a stage where registrars of exam bodies will come out openly to say corruption has been committed and nothing happens.
“As an NGO, we’ve done everything but we don’t have the power of law enforcement; we’ve created awareness, structures, we’ve written books, we’ve created training programmes and so on and so forth.
“The only thing that we lack now is the political courage for the law enforcement agencies of this country to understand what I have been saying in 20 years that every war has component battles.
“And when you go to all wars that have been fought over history, there are critical battles that you must fight and win before you have a chance of winning the major war.
“So, right now, we are fighting another anti-corruption war; we have fought some before, and I have said until we fight and win the exam malpractice battle, forget the anti-corruption war; it won’t succeed.’’
Onyechere underscored the need for anti-corruption agencies to set up a special task force to effectively battle exam malpractice.