Everyday, we accuse our leaders of corruption, mismanagement, and many other “diseases” killing us as a country. We always put the blame solely on the heads of our leaders, shielding ourselves and other sectors of any blame in destroying it. But in this article, I intend to expose the wickedness and heartless illegality in the sells of DE forms in Kano.
I and pretty much every Nigerian are aware that gaining admission into university is one of the most depleted phase of the country’s educational system and the most unnerving task of a student’s life. Final year secondary school students scramble to get admission into universities with all they can. They all sit for an SSCE examination; WAEC or NECO or both and also sit for UME formerly known as JAMB. What is more, these exams have been credited with serious reports of malpractice & fraud yet they are prerequisite to the ever daunting post-UME examination. Although, the post-UME was quiet an effort to counter the now implausible UME examination, the two together are just unnecessary, stressful, costly and unacceptable. But like many Nigerian issues, we have adapted, sucked it and continued to live with it.
In Kano, over 60,000 students graduate from secondary schools. A rough 15% of which will gain admission into degree awarding institutions but majority will opt for other tertiary educational programs like National Diploma, Certificate of Education etc. Many of these students will still, later seek admission into university via Direct-Entry (DE). Successful DE applicants join universities from second year upon completion of a 2 year National Diploma or its equivalent. Others that performed averagely join as fresh graduates, of which I know many graduates that gained admission via DE either as 2nd year students or fresh graduates. Up until the last few days, I was never privileged to learn of the processes that entails gaining admission via DE. What follows is the sad truth surrounding DE-Forms in Kano State. From sheer irresponsibility, monopoly, fraud and exploitation, to putting peoples livesin danger.
I was attending a meeting in a friend’s house a couple of days ago when his sister asked him for money to buy a DE form. He gladly asked her the amount to which she replied 7000 Naira. After she left, he mentioned the girl was a 3 point student and he is very hopeful that she will be admitted as a 2nd year student. The next day, our meeting was short lived as issues began to emerge regarding the purchase of aDE form for the youngest and only daughter of a family of seven to which I also got engulfed. For a start, the form can only be purchased in Zenith Bank branches around Kano. How and why JAMB chose only one bank to be their outlet, I don’t know. And I won’t indulge myself or anyone in spreading a false propaganda that Zenith might have lobbied or bribed officials to be chosen as the sole outlet of DE forms. Buts its worth nothing that Zenith have only 11 branches in the whole of Kano. 3 of these branches are loosely located around the Sabon Gari business area. The branches are; Murtala Mohd main branch, Bello road branch & France road branch. Thus, the choice of Zenith Bank as a single outlet is unfair to students around Kano State’s 44 Local Government Areas, inconsiderate and careless act from JAMB as there are other Banks with much more branches and a fair distribution of Branches that could have been added alongside Zenith Bank.
Fair enough, a Nigerian will travel to Wudil or Gwarzo (LGAs in Kano) who do have Zenith Bank branches if that’s the only place they can find a DE-from. But a trip around some of these branches told us they have ran out of forms. However two branches told us we can find DE forms in an internet café called Ciroma Café in Sabon gari area along Sarki Yaki road by Igbo road. Although surprising, it’s understandable that the banks have ran out of DE forms, but why a Zenith Bank staff was directing us to an internet café after their bank was chosen as the sole outlet was just pure irresponsibility and very fishy. Nevertheless, we went ahead to locate Ciroma Café in the middle of Sabon Gari area. When we got there, over 300 students were registering for one exam or the other. The DE form that was supposed to cost =N=5000 was now 12000 in Ciroma café; a customer was begging a young igbo man that goes by the name Ciroma to please accept 10,000 naira as he came a long way to find the form, to which ciroma replied ‘You can go and sort yourself I will still be here tomorrow’. I was still in shock when my friend brought 12,000 naira and ciroma looked at us and said its 14,000 naira. A joke it seems, we had to pay 14,000 naira to purchase that form for his sister, which was almost triple the actual price. There, we saw a girl cry because she can’t afford it, we saw someone who left to get the balance and retuned to learn that the price increased by another 2000 naira. He just cursed Ciroma and left the place. As a very optimistic indigene of Kano who believed the state still have a credible sanity compared to other states, this story left me disappointed.
Its quiet obvious that ciroma café is in business with Zenith Bank. A dreadful act that gives Ciroma café the power to monopolize and manipulate price of DE forms. To the café, it’s just business but this is sheer exploitation and fraud. The students that could not afford to buy at ciroma café’s price might have been deprived of the right to education, might also be thrown into the world of mental depression. Imagine completing a Diploma program in hope of getting admission into university and then realizing the form which does not ensure admission is not even affordable. The JAMB authorities are purely responsible because their chosen outlet have awfully failed in delivering the required service to sell this forms and the parasitic ciroma café feeds on the future and expense of young Nigerians. All over the world, students are given special consideration, discounts in shops, subsidize academic materials. The plausible Kano state government that have hugely invested in the field of education are pretty much not aware of this menace of exploitation of young Nigerian students. I do hope they will take necessary action with other stakeholders.
Last of all, the security situation in Kano and the recent bombings that marred Sallah celebrations forced the government to extend students break for another week after the School of management bombing. Yet, in the middle of Sabon Gari market is Ciroma café that gathers hundreds of students a day. Such gatherings are synonymous with putting the lives of young individuals at risk and should anything happen to this students, JAMB and Zenith Bank should be held accountable. I therefore urged the Kano State government security council to look into this matter as the lives of its citizen are being placed in danger. JAMB and the Bank should also ensure that only qualified applicants purchase DE forms in the future. I do hope all concerned stakeholders will take diligent action to pipe down this menace of exploiting students and also ensure & encourage DE-candidates gain admission through a fair process.
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