In a bid to tackle the challenge of impersonation experienced in the conduct of its examinations, the National Examination Council (NECO) has procured 8,000 biometric machines and 20 Toyota Hilux Vans worth over N800 million to address some of its challenges.
At the commissioning of the equipment in Minna on Friday, the Acting Registrar NECO, Mr Abubakar Gana said the equipment was procured to enhance operations in the areas of logistics and overall security of its examination.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this procurement makes it the first time NECO is deploying biometrics for the conduct of its Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE).
In the past, NECO has been making use of scratch cards to register over 51,000 candidates for each of its examinations which had not enable it curb malpractices.
The 8,000 biometrics machine cost the council N500 million while the 20 Toyota Hilux gulp N327,800,000.
Each of the vehicle cost N16,390,000 while a unit of the biometric capture machine cost N62,500.
Gana also noted that about N2 billion was generated through the sale of scratch card to candidates and as such returned same to the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government.
” The last time the council bought vehicles was in 2013. We have also bought 8,000 units of biometric capture machines, which can verify the identity of candidates, as well as record attendance.
“In the last year, we were able to save money and seek approval from the board and Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP)
” The essence of the biometric is to deal with impersonation to help sanitise the system thereby having quality standards.
” We have been able to utilise our scarce resources and save more to be able to procure the necessary equipment for our operations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Abubakar Saddiq, Board Chairman, NECO said that the procurement of the equipment were necessary as the council had in the past been borrowing vehicles to enable it run its examinations.
Saddiq noted that impersonation had become a major problem in the conduct of its examination, saying that with such procurement, monitoring of examinations will now be smooth.
” Last year, we went to INEC to beg for vehicles to enable us run our examinations.
” We learn from our mistakes and decided that this year we are going to organise a hitch free exam.
” Our exam materials will reach their point in time now, impersonation has become a major problem.
” I monitor exam last year and was not happy because I saw those who did not register but sat for the examination.
” With this improvement, we can now go round with the machine and get to book anyone who impersonate.”
Saddiq explained that the council’s ICT unit would now be improved and effective for the conduct of any of its examination.
He added that NECO was now boastful of a website befitting of any examination standard through its ICT units while promising to upgrade other units of the council.
While commissioning the equipment, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, said the procurement was aimed at boosting the operations of the council.
Echono,who was represented by Mr Abubakar Koko, Director, Human Resources in the ministry, advised the management of the council to ensure that the equipment were well maintained for the benefit of humanity.
He, therefore, assured of the ministry’s continued support and collaboration in all of the council’s projects.