THE National Examination Council (NECO) says it has procured a total of 8000 biometric machines to verify the identity of candidates that would sit for the 2019 NECO senior secondary certificate examination scheduled to start this month.
Registrar of the Council, Abubakar Gana who disclosed this in Minna, Niger State said the biometric machines which were procured late last year following approval from the Governing Council of NECO and the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) would also address the problem of attendance and impersonation during the examination.
The event was the commissioning of 20 Toyota Hilux vans and the biometric machines by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education, Sunny Echono.
The biometric machines, he said, is worth N500million while the newly 20 Toyota Hilux vans procured for distribution of examination materials were procured at 327,800,000.
Gana said NECO has saved well over N2 billion through its prudent management of funds, adding that the agency will save more in the future as it has fully integrated its transactions into the Treasury Single Account, (TSA).
He noted that leakages were being blocked and reduced to the barest minimum at the agency even as the exam body is ensuring prudent management and utilisation of the nation’s scarce resources.
“We were able to procure 20 single cabin Hilux vans. The last time the council bought vehicles was in 2013. We have also bought 8000 units of biometric capture machines, which can verify the identity of candidates as well as record attendance.”
On whether the 8,000 biometric capturing machines can serve the 10 thousand NECO centres across the country, he said one machine can be used in two schools to verify candidates at registration and before they commence any SSCE exams.
He assured that with the purchase of 20 new Hilux vans, examination materials would arrive their destination on time and eliminate arbitrary postponement of the examination, stressing that the last time government procured vehicles for NECO was in 2013.
Speaking also, Chairman Governing Board of NECO, Abubakar Sadiq, announced that the examination body has eliminated the use of scratch cards and adopted pin vending to check the activities of fraudsters who may take advantage of the system to defraud unsuspecting candidates.
Sadiq lamented that impersonation has become a major problem to public examinations in Nigeria while assuring that the biometric capturing machines would reduce incidents of identity theft up to 90 or 95 per cent.
He noted that although NECO has the capacity to adopt the Computer Based Test (CBT) method like the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the council would continue with the paper-pencil method for the time being.