The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has faulted the five-year jail term proposed for examination fraudsters. It said the law was unfair to students, who were not provided with basic learning tools.
It blamed the spate of examination frauds in the country on infrastructural deficiency in the education sector.
The Chairman, ICPC, Ekpo Nta, in an interview with our correspondent, said more examination cheats were found in schools where there was shortage of human and material resources.
He criticised proprietors of schools, both government and private, saying educational institutions should meet standards or be shut down.
He said it was time stakeholders examined the structure, which had been promoting corruption. He added that once the system was corrected, the individuals would be corrected.
Nta said the last time students accused of exam malpractices were brought to the commission, he investigated their background and the schools they came from. He noted that record of exam malpractices was very low in ‘top’ schools, including public ones.
“It is very rare. Laboratories, libraries, computers, dormitories, dining halls and highly qualified teachers are in such schools. How will a child who has gone through such schools be involved in exam malpractices?
“By the time you begin to check those arrested for exam malpractices, they are from community schools, where there is a math teacher for the whole school; no science teacher. And then, you turn around to arrest a child who is a victim (of the inadequacies).
“If you prosecute such a child and jail them for five years, when you never gave them an opportunity, you will only make them toughened criminals when they are out. You didn’t give them a chance in the first instance, then, you jailed them in addition,” the ICPC boss observed.
President Goodluck Jonathan, through the immediate past Education Minister, Prof. Ruqquayat Rufa’i, had introduced a fine of N200, 000 or five-year jail term or both for examination cheats.
Rufa’i had tabled a memo before the Federal Executive Council, seeking approval for the enactment of an Act to amend the WAEC Act, CAP W4, Laws of 2004 to give effect to the revised convention of WAEC, 2003 in Nigeria.
The FEC had approved the amendment, with the office of the Attorney-General reportedly fine-tuning it, before it was taken to the National Assembly for passage.