You have done your part. Nice investigation. Now, its (sic) my turn to do my thing. Mind people you step into (sic)… you are in Nigeria, not USA. Expect us. Thank you.”
That was the message sent to our correspondent around 1pm on Wednesday after a report on exam malpractice being perpetrated in the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination was published
The sender’s identity number was encrypted as ‘CRACK MIND.’
PUNCH Metro had reported about how some pupils sitting the WASSCE being administered by the West African Examination Council cheated by subscribing to answer-peddling websites.
The websites, which boasted of getting questions prior to the time of the exams, advertised various rates for different subjects and urged pupils to subscribe in bulk to get discounts.
Testimonials of candidates who got excellent results after using the services of the operators were displayed on the sites.
Our correspondent had subscribed to five different websites for answers to the Commerce exam which was written on Tuesday.
The websites are examcrown.com, examsort.com, naijaclass.com, waecexpo.com and guruslodge.com
The operators of the sites demanded that MTN recharge cards be sent to their phone numbers, which are 09069072051, 07063609771, 08167593558, 07032581573 and 08154766482.
They demanded N400 for link to the answer websites and N800 for direct SMS of the answers to candidates’ phones
While examcrown and examsort later resorted to Internet bulk SMS, using their codenames, EXAMCROWN and EXAMSORT, to update our correspondent, others used telephone numbers, including 08101038699, 07068088239.
True to their words, the websites delivered answers to both the objective and theory questions through text messages and their portals.
Shortly after the findings of PUNCH Metro were published on Wednesday, one of the website operators threatened to deal with our correspondent for writing the report.
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, asked our correspondent to report the threat to the nearest police station.
He said although the sender’s contact was encrypted, the police could investigate and get all the suspects arrested.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti, said the threat should not be taken lightly.
He said, “I have informed the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, about your case and he has asked that you come to the command to report for investigation to begin into the matter. Upon their arrest, their activities will be revealed. That way, we will be able to annul their plans. Threats should not be taken lightly because a lot of journalists have been killed this way.”
Meanwhile, some readers of PUNCH Online have blamed WAEC for the leakage of exam questions, saying the body should check itself.
A poster, who identified herself only as Abigail, said WAEC officials sometime sent account numbers to school owners, demanding kickbacks.
She said, “Candidates are patronising the sites as a result of the high level of corruption among WAEC officials, supervisors and invigilators (teachers). What can one say about officials sending their account numbers to proprietors and principals of some private schools just for the purpose of aiding malpractice; supervisors also collecting bribes to aid malpractice; invigilators are not left out of the mess.
“If these people can perform their duties with the fear of God, the operators of those sites will have no choice but to close down and look for something else to do. In addition, I want to strongly suggest that emphasis should not be placed on O’ Level results for the purpose of admission into higher institutions pending the time we will get it right as a nation.”
A reader, Madukanaya, alleged that some WAEC workers leaked the answers to their children, friends and relatives, adding that examination malpractice was at the root of corruption in Nigeria.
A poster with the alias, Something there is, urged the exam body to grill its workers.
“The question is that how did the websites get hold of the exam questions before the exam day? Why not check WAEC board itself and you’ll be surprised about the mess going on there. The websites do not set the questions, then how do they get them if WAEC officials are not involved?” he queried.
One Jed said a recent remark by President Muhammadu Buhari that youths in the country were lazy might be true.
“The President may be right by saying some youths don’t like hard work but want everything free. Yes, they want free excellent results with nothing in their brains. Aren’t they truly lazy?
“This is appalling; appropriate authorities must rise and save our educational system from total collapse,” the writer said.
Another reader, Ahmad Kehinde, said examination malpractice had got to its peak.
“This is the level of decadence we have sunk into in this country. It’s both sad and appalling! The blame should rest squarely on WAEC Nigeria because the spokesperson admitted that they were aware of the various sites and have not been able to do anything about them! That is damning! Government should step in quickly to dislodge these evil-minded criminals. This new exam malpractice tendency is killing the scholarly values in our young ones, especially among the private school students,” another commentator, Adestar, said.
The spokesperson for WAEC, Demianus Ojijeogu, denied that officials of the organisation were involved in the malpractice.
He explained that the website operators had continued to multiply due to lack of deterrents.
He said, “The security agencies have been involved (in the fight against examination malpractice). The police paraded six suspects last year in Abuja. Those people keep multiplying and the ones that are arrested are granted bail and released after some people beg for them. And that will be the end of the case.
“It is not true that our officials are involved. We have done soul-searching. This thing did not start this year. I am involved in this whole process and can authoritatively say that our workers are not involved. If they were, they (the website operators) will be getting the papers a day or two to the exams.”