Four suspects facing trial at the Federal High Court sitting in Akure, Ondo State, who were apprehended during the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for registration and examination malpractice, are to remain in detention following their failure to secure bail.
The suspects are to spend two more months in custody pending when the court reconvenes from its vacation which starts on Friday, 21st July, 2023, and is to end in October.
The registration impersonation suspects are Timilehin Akinwale, Olayinka Mustapha, and Peter Okereke, while Feranmi Adesuyi was arraigned for impersonation.
When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, 12th July 2023, an official of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Ms. Smith Oseinat Ayodele, told the Court that Feranmi Adesuyi was arrested for impersonation during the examination.
According to her, Adesuyi committed the said offense on 28th April 2023, at Amable Nig. Ltd. CBT Centre, Owo, during the 2023 UTME. Ms. Smith had told the court that she served as the Biometric Verification Registration Officer at the center while testifying as a prosecution witness.
According to her, Feranmi approached her to verify his fingerprint before proceeding to sit the examination but noted that the picture displayed on the screen of the computer was different from that of Feranmi.
“He was looking different from the picture uploaded on the JAMB portal. I questioned him and he insisted that he was the same person on the screen. I asked him yet again but he was adamant. Since I wasn’t making any headway with him, I asked him to step aside. I then called the attention of other examination officials and the NSCDC personnel attached to the center. They also confirmed my position that the face on the screen was different from that of Feranmi. After intense questioning, he later confessed that he was actually at the center to impersonate another candidate.”
Ayodele had subsequently tendered the statement she wrote at the NSCDC Ondo State Command Office that aided in the arrest of the suspect. Since the defense counsel did not oppose the tendering of the statement of Prosecution Witness1(PW1), the statement was admitted as Exhibit ‘A’. She was also examined in evidence but there was no cross-examination by the defence counsel.
The prosecuting counsel, Moses Osimen, applied for leave of the court to set a date to enable him to call more witnesses. The Presiding Judge, Justice T. B. Adegoke, reserved ruling on the bail application by the defense counsel and said the date would be communicated to both parties in the suit.
In the case of impersonation involving Okereke Peters and two others, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Moses Osime, and Mr. Gbadebo T. O., told the court that they had a witness in court while the counsel to the first defendant, Okere Peters, equally told the court that he was ready for trial but the counsel representing the second and third defendants, Mr. Peter Ujah, informed the court that he was not prepared for trial on the ground that his office was just recently briefed on the matter and was only served a day before the case came up for hearing.
According to him, the initial proof of evidence served on the former counsel, who had been representing the 2nd and 3rd defendants, did not hand over the proof of evidence that the prosecuting counsel had served him and only received the same the previous day.
Justice Adegoke then adjourned the case till 13th November 2023, for ruling on the bail application for the three suspects.
Meanwhile, the suspects and their relatives broke down in tears when the judge announced the adjournment date as they were first remanded in prison on 24th May 2023.