The Anambra State Government has taken a compassionate approach towards 19-year-old Mmesoma Ejikeme, who was caught forging her Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) result.
The state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, announced that Mmesoma has been handed over to a psychotherapist for three months of guidance and counselling.
During a press briefing at her office in Awka, Prof. Chuma-Udeh revealed that the decision to offer therapy to Mmesoma was based on the recommendations of a state panel that investigated the UTME forgery case, reports Nigerian Tribune.
Mmesoma, a student of Anglican Girls Secondary School, Nnewi, gained notoriety when the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exposed her fraudulent act of manipulating her UTME score from 249 to 362, falsely presenting herself as the UTME top scorer for 2023.
Before admitting her involvement in the forgery, Mmesoma engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of accusations with JAMB, resulting in the exam body imposing a three-year ban on her.
However, during a hearing before a panel of the House of Representatives in Abuja on Wednesday, she expressed remorse, tendered an apology to JAMB, and pleaded for leniency.
The Anambra State Commissioner for Education clarified that the state considers Mmesoma’s actions as “juvenile delinquency,” something any child could potentially fall victim to.
Instead of condemning her outright, the state government decided to provide her with the necessary support and guidance. She is currently undergoing therapy with a psychotherapist counsellor for three months.
Prof. Chuma-Udeh further stated, “We are not going to throw the baby away with the bathwater.”
This demonstrates the state government’s commitment to giving the young student a chance to reform and make amends for her actions.
Following the therapy period, the state government plans to appeal to JAMB management on Mmesoma’s behalf, requesting them to reconsider certain aspects of the penalty.
The commissioner expressed gratitude to Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, for granting approval for the psychotherapy class, showing the government’s concern for the overall well-being and development of its young citizens.