The Imo State Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has arrested over 12 illegal Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration operators in Owerri.

They were arrested in Owerri, Okigwe and Orlu zones in the state, for inflating and accepting money above the stipulated N4, 700 officially slated for the examination.

Briefing newsmen, the state Commandant of NSCDC, Raji Ibrahim said that the suspects were arrested at different points in the state.

Ibrahim stated that the illegal operators charged different rates ranging from N5, 500 to N7, 500.

He said: “They charged and collected between N5,500 and N7,500 against the Federal Government stipulated rate of N4,700. This is affecting parents and guardians who are paying for the examination fees”.

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He stated that the arrests should act as a deterrent to others who were interested at inflating and collecting unapproved price for the examination.

One of the suspects, Innocent Dike from Orlu in the state, confessed to the crime, saying that the high rate was because the operations differed from one Computer-Based Testing (CBT) centre to the other.

“He said, “We collect N500 for “Sweet 16 novel”. The accredited CBT centre is allowed to take N700 for the registration. In my case, the extra N800 is because before you can vend e-pin, you must have a valid email address and profile code. We credit the email with N300 while the extra N500 is to transport the candidate from my office to the accredited CBT centre”.

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Another suspect, Ngozi Eke who hails from Ahiazu Mbaise said that over-pricing was due to logistics problems.