The federal government stated that on Wednesday that going forward, school certificate examination offenders would spend 5 five years in jail or pay the fine of N250, 000.
This decision which was the outcome of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan followed the approval of an enactment Act to amend the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Act.
The Minister of Education, Prof Ruqayyat Rufai who disclosed this while briefing journalists after the FEC meeting together with the ministers of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu; Environment, Hadza Mailafia and information, Labaran Maku noted that the approval was to give effect to the revised convention of WAEC, 2003 in Nigeria.
She had tabled a memo before the Council, seeking approval for the enactment of an Act to amend the WAEC Act, CAP W4, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 to give effect to the revised convention of WAEC, 2003 in Nigeria.
The 2004 Act, which is to be amended is empowered to take disciplinary action against those who have committed both the offences and penalties for illegally using examination papers and leakage of examination papers, etc.
Section 19(1) of the Act reads in part as follows: “such candidate shall not take or be allowed to take or continue the examination, in addition, he shall be prohibited from taking any examination held or conducted by or on behalf of the Council for a period of two years immediately following upon such contraventions and if a candidate aforesaid has already taken any papers at the examination, his result there from shall be cancelled.”
In addition, the candidate may be prosecuted and if found guilty shall be “liable on conviction to a fine of N2,000 or imprisonment for a term of five years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
20 (2) reads: “the penalties contained in this sub-section (a) may be imposed whether or not a prosecution for an offence under section 20 or 21 of this Act has been brought or is being conducted or contemplated and (b) shall be in addition to such other penalties as a court may impose upon conviction for an offence under the aforesaid section 20 or 21.
“WAEC was established in 1952 following the acceptance of the Jeffery Report by the then colonial governments in Gold Coast (Ghana) , Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gambia and later joined by Liberia in 1974.The Council further directed the Ministry of Justice to take further necessary action on the subject.