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JAMB warns Nigerian universities against illegal admissions of underage students, citing recent scrutiny and systemic flaws. Calls for reforms at a biennial conference highlight governance challenges and the need for accountability in tertiary education.

Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has issued a stern warning to Nigerian tertiary institutions, particularly universities, against admitting underage students, terming it illegal. Speaking at the seventh biennial conference of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-Owned Universities in Lagos, Oloyede emphasized the need for universities to cease such irregular practices for the sake of accountability and national integrity.

Highlighting a recent incident involving a 15-year-old student applying for a postgraduate course abroad, Oloyede underscored the international scrutiny faced by Nigerian universities due to these admissions. He recounted verifying the graduation of a student who wasn't JAMB-admitted, revealing systemic flaws in university admissions.

Oloyede also criticized the admission of diploma students without due process, citing a disproportionate number from certain institutions. He urged state-owned universities, more numerous than federal counterparts, to uphold standards and avoid damaging Nigeria's education reputation.

Former Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, echoed concerns, urging pro-chancellors to enhance institutional competence to attract top faculty and students. Sen. Joshua Lidani, Chairman of COPSUN, emphasized governance challenges plaguing Nigerian universities, including corruption and inadequate funding.

The conference aimed to address systemic issues like strike actions and governance instability affecting educational quality. Lidani stressed the role of stakeholders in elevating standards and governance in Nigerian tertiary education.

The call for action resonated with participants, acknowledging the conference's potential to spur reforms amid ongoing challenges.