The Anambra State government has reacted to the controversial Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, 362 score being paraded by a student of Anglican Girls Secondary School, Nnewi, Miss Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma, saying it bust up the whole thing when it suspected that the score was fake.
This came as the chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, who earlier announced N3 million scholarship to the girl, said she can no longer access the fund until the investigation is completed.
Mmesoma became an instant celebrity after her alleged 362 scores went viral as the overall best score in the 2023 UTME.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), which conducts the UTME, had on Sunday, declared Mmesoma’s 362 UTME score as fake, and revealed that her score was manually inflated, as her original score was 249. JAMB also announced the immediate withdrawal of Mmesoma’s UTME score.
Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Professor Ngozi Chuma-Udeh said she was the one that raised the alarm after the girl honoured an invitation in the process of the plan by the state government to honour her.
Chuma- Udeh said that after Mmesoma’s result was published online, she invited the girl for the purpose of a recognition by the state government, adding that when Mmesoma brought her result, she observed that it was not directly from the JAMB printout.
According to her, it was at that point that she became suspicious, which made her to get in touch with JAMB to confirm the result, stating that she was taken aback when JAMB told her that what was circulating was not its result.
She said it was at that point that her ministry turned back the girl, while JAMB began investigation into the matter.
Meanwhile, the founder of Innoson Motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, who announced N3 million university scholarship award to the 16-year-old Mmesoma shortly after her result went viral, has said that with the latest development, the girl can no longer access the fund, although the money had been paid into a dedicated account.
Describing the revelation as very unfortunate, Chukwuma said he was excited when he heard that the young girl came tops in the UMTE, especially when he found out that she studied in a public school.
He said: “When I was told that a student of a public school recorded the highest score in the JAMB examination, I sent for the principal of the school and the principal confirmed to me that it was true that the girl scored the mark.
“I said to myself that such a brilliant girl, if properly educated, will be beneficial to our country and the world at large, so I decided to award her scholarship so that nothing will stop her from attaining a university education.
“When I awarded her the scholarship, I deposited ₦3,000,000 in a dedicated bank account and told the principal that the money is strictly meant for Mmesoma’s education in the university, which means that any time she needs to pay any fee in the school, they will let me know so that I will sign for withdrawal of the money from the account.
“I made the arrangement so that nobody, including the girl’s parents, can divert the money to another thing.
“I didn’t know the girl before. I heard that she hails from Enugu State, but studied in a public school in Anambra State, so my interest is to make sure that I support her to realize her potential in education and be useful to our nation, as well as encourage other younger ones to take their education very seriously.”
According to Chukwuma, “the little girl I saw looked so innocent and I can’t believe that she could manipulate her score,” adding, “If I find out that she deliberately faked her result, I will cancel the scholarship because I can’t encourage a criminal as such a person cannot be useful to the society.”
He, however, said that if he finds out that she did not have a hand in the manipulation and that the score was given to her in error or that someone manipulated the result for her without her knowledge, he would not cancel the scholarship.
He also explained that he would make inquiry to find out what actually happened.