A Nigerian group, Advocacy Network on Religious and Cultural Coexistence (ANORACC) has condemned the action of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for publicly displaying the personal data of Nmesoma Ejikeme, a minor, and subjecting her to public ridicule, stating that such was in violation of Nigerian laws.
JAMB, a Nigerian entrance examination board for tertiary-level institutions in a statement on Sunday accused Miss Mmesoma of fabricating her UTME result, saying she manually catapulted her scores from 249 to 362 in order to seek favour from the Nigerian public.
Miss Mmesoma was celebrated last week in Nigeria for securing the highest scores in the 2023 JAMB examination.
In a statement on Monday, the Director of ANORACC, Odimegwu Onwumere, said, “sharing a minor’s personal details on the newspapers and social media as JAMB had done, is against universal data protection act.”
The report by the ANORACC stated that before making the fraudulent accusation public against Ejikeme, “did JAMB invite the girl and perhaps, in the cause of query, it was discovered that she was untruthful with her 362 marks in lieu of 249 that JAMB has publicized that she scored?”
The group maintained that there had been cases of results, where what was printed out from the computer, was not what was on the schools’ records.
According to Onwumere, “This could be the fate of Ejikeme and shouldn’t make her fake. JAMB refused to tell the general public how the girl supposedly inflated her result.
“Rather, the university examination body went berserk to despoil the image of the little girl whom the populace are yet to hear from but has joined JAMB in its jungle conclusion.
“Before telling the public that the girl inflated her result, I had thought that the Nigerian constitution says the accused remains innocent till proven otherwise and besides, this is a minor whose parent(s) or lawyer were supposed to be in the news and not the girl.”
Onwumere asked, “So, which court’s order did JAMB operate with before its verdict that the lass who’s a minor was fraudulent with 362 position?”
The report added that JAMB has many questions to answer. According to it, “What method did the girl forge the result with? What court ordered its position in labeling the girl a fraud?
“Did the girl print out her result from JAMB portal in computer or she noted of her result through JAMB office? These answers will help the reading public to take a stand.”
The report bemoaned that it is on record in the Nigerian laws that a Minor is an individual under the age of full legal capacity. “Section 29 (4) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, defines full age as the age of eighteen years and above.  In other words, anyone from seventeen and below, will be regarded as a minor,” the group pointed out.
Quoting the law, the ANORACC said, “The Child Rights Act itself is 230 pages long and contains 278 different sections. Part I- mandates that when a child is concerned, their best interest is to take precedent. It goes on to state that the parent or legal guardian is obligated to fulfill the duty to give the child basic protection.”
The group therefore called on the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria established by Decree No. 22 of 1995 to remember it’s “mandated to promote, protect, investigate and monitor human rights violation as well as receive and treat complaints from citizens including children about violations of their rights.”
Adding, ANORACC said, “A child’s mother, whether married or unmarried, has automatic legal guardianship of the child. The child’s father also has guardianship if he is married to the child’s mother, either before or after the birth of the child.”
The group queried the locus standi that JAMB had to share data of a minor in the public without a recourse to the parent(s) or lawyer’s approval.