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By NBF News
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For 24-year-old Chijioke John Ijioma, this is certainly not the best of times. The young man's dream of acquiring university education is being threatened by the National Examinations Council (NECO) decision to cancel an already released result of his.

John, who stormed our Lagos office, last week, to complain about his predicament, said he downloaded his result like any other candidates from NECO website and proceeded to Abia State University (ABSU) for registration and screening exercise having made it on the merit list for Microbiology.

The young chap from Bende Local Government Area of Abia State showed the print-out of his NECO result which he used to process his admission in 2009 as 100 level undergraduate but because of the policy of the university to screen students every year, he was asked to produce his NECO result again thus the discovery of the cancelled result.

His words: 'I went for another registration and screening at my Faculty, Department and Admission Office. After the process, I was asked to fill four files and the admission officer said he needed the master sheet to confirm the result.

'I called my school, Bethel Comprehensive College, Mushin, Lagos. They told me that the result has been cancelled. They asked me to go and check my result again. I called my young brother to check my result for me. He brought another scratch card and check, only to discover it was cancelled. It happened in July 2010.

'I was shocked when my brother called to give me the sad news. It is the first time I am hearing about this. I also called the school and they said they had gotten across to NECO. I came back from ABSU on September 2 and on September 6, I visited the school and met the Proprietor and Principal. I am in Second Semester; we ought to have started exams by August 28 if not for the ASUU strike. Every student was given deadline to produce the master list of either WAEC or NECO results.'

The 24-year-lad who could not fathom what went wrong for NECO to cancel his result after he had downloaded and used the printout to process his admission at ABSU revealed that 'during the June/July school exam, a student was caught during the Mathematics paper. I met the Proprietor who told me it affected not only me but other students of the school.'

According to him, coming from a poor family, he had spent over N200,000, minus the numerous transport fare to & fro the university. He told Education Review that his parents are sad over the incident and that the cancellation has caused him sleepless night.

'I beg NECO to release my result, if I didn't see the result and downloaded it, I will not be bothered. I did not get involved in any exam malpractice. Not even for once was I cautioned by the invigilator or the supervisor. The university said all students must submit their files but for the ASUU strike.'

He came along with the printout of the NECO result which shows the grades he recorded in nine subjects. They are as follows: English Language 5, Mathematics 8, Yoruba Language (absent), Christian Religious Studies 7, Economics 5, Biology 5, Chemistry 6, Physics 6 and Agriculture Science 3. John sat for the school exam with exam no 91483642AB and center no 020926.

At the Lagos office of NECO our correspondent was told that since the exam is school-based, NECO does not deal with individual candidates and advised Chijioke John to visit his school and lodge his complaint and in turn, the school should communicate to NECO on the issue.

When Education Review took up the case of Chijioke John Ijioma with NECO headquarters in Minna, he was advised to channel his complaint through the school that presented him for June/July 2009 SSCE as the exam body does not deal with candidates directly.

But in a swift reaction, the lad said the school had long written NECO on the situation which the Proprietor and the Principal confirmed during his visit to the school to formally complain about the cancellation of his result.

A legal practitioner, Barrister Adekunle Atanda told Education Review that the only option left for the young lad is to institute legal action against NECO since the result was released but cancelled without any explanation or reason from NECO and cited several cases in which court ordered WAEC to release the cancelled results to the candidates.

When NECO released the 2009 June/July results on September 9, 2009, it cancelled 32,423 results of 1.18 million candidates that sat for the exam. According to the Registrar of NECO, Professor Promise Okpala, the decision was based on their involvement in examination malpractices committed during the school exams.