WAEC offenders face 5-year jail term, N200, 000 fine

By The Citizen

The federal government yesterday at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting approved the enactment of an Act to amend the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Act, CAP W4, Laws of the federation 2004 to give effect to the revised convention of WAEC, 2003 in Nigeria.

Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa'i, disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists on the outcome of the FEC meeting, stressing that under the new Act examination malpractice will attract a five -year jail term for offenders or the option of N200, 000 fine.

The 2004 Act, to which an amendment is being sought, states that WAEC is empowered to take disciplinary action against those who have contravened the Act by illegally using examination papers and leakage of examination papers, etc.

In particular, section 19(1) reads: 'such candidate shall not take or be allowed to take or continue the examination, in addition, he shall be prohibited from taking any examination held or conducted by or on behalf of the council for a period of two years immediately following upon such contraventions and if a candidate aforesaid has already taken any papers at the examination, his result therefrom shall be cancelled.'

In addition, the candidate may be prosecuted and if found guilty shall be 'liable on conviction to a fine of N200,000 or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.'

Section 20 (2) reads: 'the penalties contained in this sub-section (a) may be imposed whether or not a prosecution for an offence under section 20 or 21 of this Act has been brought or is being conducted or contemplated and (b) shall be in addition to such other penalties as a court may impose upon conviction for an offence under the aforesaid section 20 or 21.'

Rufa’i in a memo tabled before FEC noted that there was the need to domesticate the revised convention establishing the WAEC, Accra, 2003, pointing out that: 'The ordinances have been replaced with the conventions which confers legal personality on the Council as an international organisation.'

'The council established in 1952 and operated in Gold Coast (Ghana) , Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia and Liberia 'now operates under a revised convention signed in 2003 and functions through committees.'

The federal government also directed the Ministry of Justice to take further necessary action on the matter.