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JAMB And The Money Swallowing Snake

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Our propensity to wow the world with our corrupt deeds has moved from the mundane to the ridiculous with the story of the incident at the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) where it was said a snake crept into an office and swallow N36 million.

I know snakes eat by swallowing their prey which is mostly rats, chicken, eggs, etc. At what stage of evolution did snake start eating money? Or is there a new breed of snake unknown to the world nurtured at the JAMB office that solely preys of money?

Another question that’s racking my mind since this story broke was the presence of N36 million in an office. When did the Federal Government add banking services to the mandate of JAMB as a university matriculation examination conductor? Is the money not kept in save? What was evidence left behind for the official to conclude that it a snake that swallows the money? And where is that snake? The entire world, not just Nigerians would love to see this weird snake. Such a snake will be a huge source of income for Nigeria, I bet, many people from all parts of the world will troop to Nigeria to see the 10th wonder of the world!

Aba! Are we going insane or this person think we are fools? The lack of accountability and adherence to due processes at government agencies and parastatals are so flagrant and disgusting. How on earth is N36 million kept in an office? Is JAMB an ATM or food vendor that collect cash for sales?

The rot in JAMB just like in all organs of government in Nigeria has been institutionalized. It is not enough for the EFCC to focus its anti-corruption crusade on politicians alone, the searchlight must be beamed on our civil servants who are anything but servants,

JAMB under  Prof. Ishaq Oloyede has undergone commendable reforms, JAMB candidates purchased scratch cards from JAMB state offices and other designated centers, to gain access to the Board’s website for either registration or to check their admission status.

According to JAMB’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, the discovery was made after the new Registrar of the examination body, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede ordered a comprehensive audit of the accounts of all departments, units and state offices across the country. A team of auditors was dispatched to different state offices of JAMB to take inventory of the sold and unsold scratch cards and recover whatever money that might have either been generated or mismanaged during the period of the sale of scratch cards.

On their visit to Makurdi office of JAMB, a sales clerk, Philomena Chieshe, told JAMB registrar and his team that she could not account for N36 million she made in previous years before the abolition of scratch cards.

In the course of interrogation, Philomena confessed that it was her housemaid that connived with another JAMB staff, Joan Asen, to “spiritually” steal the money from the vault in the accounts office.

She said: “I was one of the four sales clerks attached to JAMB office in Makurdi. My responsibility was to sell scratch cards to candidates and not involved in handling the revenues. It was the responsibility of Joan Asen and my other senior colleagues. I only remit money when am done selling the cards.

“Few months ago, there was an an issue of fraud in the Makurdi office. Auditors were sent from Abuja to carefully flip the record books of the office, to perhaps, ascertain the current state of affairs.

“The state Coordinator, Obilo, was not around when the audit team came. But in the course of the audit, N36 million was discovered to have been missing from the account. An investigation was launched. In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that Joan Asen, who is account staff and a lady outside JAMB have connived to steal the money.”

Philomena in her confessional statement said that Joan Asen and her accomplices confessed that they have been stealing the money “spiritually” through a mysterious snake that always sneaks into the office to swallow the money from the vault.

According to her “It was a mystery to me too. I have been saving the money in the bank, but I found it difficult to account for it. So I started saving it in a vault in the office. But each time I open the vault, I will find nothing. I became worried and surprised how the millions of Naira could be disappearing from the vault. I began to interrogate everybody in the house and office, and no one could agree on what might have happened to the money. I continued to press until my housemaid confessed. She said that the money disappeared “spiritually”. She said that a “mysterious snake” sneaked into the house and swallowed the money in the vault.”

 

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About Author

Akin Akingbala is an international journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. Aside being happily married, he has interests in music, sports and loves traveling.

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