Persons with Disabilities who are enrolling for the 2024 Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) have complained about the inability to register under the free registration scheme for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
On January 15, The JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede announced that JAMB will issue free application documents to all categories of PWDs for the 2024 UTME/DE.
However, PWDs have reported that the situation has been different when registering for the examination in their respective states.
Zahraddin Mahrazu, a visually impaired and SS3 student of the Special Education School, Tudun Maliki in Kumbotso Local Government Area of Kano State, had approached the JAMB office in Karawa, Kano State, but was told to pay for the registration.
Mahrazu explained that the officials at the JAMB office in Karawa acted surprised when he told them he wanted to register for free as a PWD.
“I was told I have to pay because they do not have any directive on that. They also said there is a possibility that they will pay me back my money within two or three weeks,” Mahrazu added.
He also noted that other classmates at the SES, Tudun Maliki, were also required to pay.
“No one has registered without payment. All my disabled classmates that we’re writing JAMB together paid before they could register,” he added.
Marhazu, who said he paid 6200 Naira for the registration, explained that he gave his account details to the JAMB officials in case they can refund his money as claimed.
In the same vein, Joy Ekojonwa-Sunday, a 24-year-old visually impaired lady who visited the JAMB office in Orogun said she was told to pay with her money.
Ekojonwa-Sunday said, “when I visited the office, I was told that they are not aware that persons with disabilities should register for free. They told me to pay for the registration and they might refund my money.
“I had to leave their office because I didn’t go there with any money thinking that it would be free as announced. So, I didn’t bother to go there again because it was a bit far from me.
“I eventually registered at a centre and I paid 9000 Naira,” she explained.
Disability rights advocate and founder of Iyaniwura Child Care Foundation (ICCF), Mrs Maltida Otitoju, who attempted to register her mentees for the examination in Lagos, said she was informed that the scheme was for Blind and Deaf persons at the initial stage.
She explained that “I have registered two of my mentees who have cerebral palsy, but I had to pay because I was told that the program is not for all disability clusters, it is only the Blind and Deaf with full O-level results.”
Otitoju also added that she knows of a mother of a child with cerebral palsy who paid for her son directly.
Abdullahi Usman, the National President of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), said he was aware that PWDs had been required to pay at the point of registration and he had taken it up with the Board.
Usman explained “I was informed that the Registrar announced after the budget for the Board had been completed.
“I have been assured that the 4000 PWDs who register for JAMB and pay with their money will be refunded. This will only be for this year because it is the first time, from next year, the payment would be made directly by JAMB even before the PWDs register,” he assured.