A 19-year-old Nigerian school pupil who has been at the centre of a controversy about whether she got the coveted nationwide top spot in this year’s final exams has admitted she forged her results sheet.
The row surrounding Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma reached Nigeria’s parliament, where lawmakers debated the issue.
She had been celebrated after coming forward to say that she had an overall score of 362 in the exams and was the nation’s top achiever.
Ms Mmesoma, who went to school in Anambra state, produced what looked like a results printout to prove her case.
A local businessman then offered her a 3m naira ($4,000; £3,000) scholarship.
But the exam authority – the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (Jamb) – disputed its authenticity saying the pupil got 249. It also said that the format of the printout that she had shown was no longer being used and there were a number of other inconsistencies.
Many took the 19-year-old’s side and accused Jamb of trying to cover up glitches on its website that led to it issuing two different results.
Soon the dispute became a national story and Ms Mmesoma released a video protesting her innocence and saying that she was “traumatised that they accused me of forging my own results”.
Anambra state Governor Charles Soludo then launched an official investigation.
According to its report signed off on Friday, Ms Mmesoma “admitted to have given a manipulated result by herself unaided. According to her, she proceeded to the cybercafé where she printed the results she had manipulated”. She gave no reason for why she did this.
She has been told to give a written apology and it has been recommended that she undergo counselling.
Jamb has banned Ms Mmesoma from taking the final exams for the next three years, which will affect her chances of getting into a tertiary school in Nigeria if upheld.