A total of 76,855 candidates on Saturday sat for the 2021 National Common Entrance Examination for admission into the 110 Federal Government Colleges also known as Unity Schools.

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono was accompanied by the Acting Registrar and Chief Executive of National Examination Council (NECO), Mr Ebikibina John Ogborodi and some top officials of the Ministry on monitoring of the conduct of the exercise by NECO in Abuja.

The exercise was generally said to be hitch-free nationwide while the Minister’s monitoring team was at Federal Science and Technical College, Orozo, Government Secondary School, Karu, and Federal Government Boys College, Apo, Abuja.

the examination which was actually scheduled by the late Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of NECO, Professor Godswill Obioma, had to go on because of the tight examination schedules approved for the public examination bodies by the Federal Ministry of Education as a result of the effect of a prolonged closure of educational institutions during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Recall that the Governing Board of the NECO appointed Mr Ebikibina John Ogborodi as the Acting Registrar/Chief Executive of the Council following the death of the Registrar, Prof. Obioma on Monday, 1st June 2021 after a brief illness.

The Minister in his remark noted that the government has planned to increase the carrying capacity of the Unity Schools to 3,000 to accommodate a new stream of schools and more candidates who are desirous of attending the Colleges.

He noted that the carrying was increased to about 26,000 last year, which did not include the six new Technical Colleges and the plan to establish five more Colleges in the country to bring the total number of Unity Colleges to 115.

He said the government was concerned about persistent attacks on schools and abduction of students and has taken steps to beef up security around the Colleges while appealing to parents to allow their children to enrol for the Colleges, established to foster national integration and cohesion.

Adamu said: “We know that there are security challenges across the Federation but we are working assiduously to address that. The government has been kind to the sector and National Assembly has continued to appropriate funds for us to provide security infrastructure in our schools.

“So, the Federal Schools are actually more secured than most others. On the strength of that we want parents to allow their children enrol for the schools; let them know this country and meet other people, he said.

He said it was interesting that more girls sat for the examination on Saturday, as a result of sensitisation and advocacy efforts of the Ministry, saying Zamfara four years ago had no one student to enrol into Unity College, and has surprisingly become the first state with the highest registered number of candidates in the North after Federal Capital Territory.

Adamu said: “This examination is taken place at a very difficult time, our chief examiner is not here with us, but as people of faith, we say all is well and we are trusting God to comfort the family and rest of us in Education family for the loss of the Registrar of NECO, Prof. Godswill Obioma.

Acting Registrar of NECO, Ogborodi, said the conduct of the examination was smooth and hitch-free in all the 417 examination centres across the country.

While given a further breakdown on candidates that sat for the examination, the Acting Registrar said highest state in the examination in Lagos with 21,423 candidates followed by FCT, 8674 candidates, Anambra 5,738 and Zamfara has 4,865 while Taraba has the least registered number of candidates of 113.

He also disclosed that the total number of female that registered for the examination was 39,555 while a total of 37,300 male candidates registered for the examination.