Author of a book titled The Last Days at Forcados High School, Dr. Ayobami Mohammed, has accused the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board of colluding with a publishing firm, Cassava Republic, to swindle him of royalties accruing from the sales of his book.
Mohammed has also asked JAMB not to use the book to examine Direct Entry candidates sitting for the 2017/2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination until his “consent is sought and obtained.’’
The author, who is also a consultant ophthalmologist, said a 2014 agreement between Cassava Republic, publishers of the book, and JAMB was to adopt the publication to be used for the assessment of the regular UTME candidates sitting for the Use of English test.
According to him, it was to be used for a period of three years.
However, speaking at a briefing in company with his lawyer, Mr. Rasheed Fatoki, in Lagos, on Friday, the author claimed he had yet to see the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding signed by Cassava Republic and the JAMB.
He alleged that he had yet to be paid the balance of N3.6m for the 2014/2015 session, despite the fact that the publishing firm allegedly declared less than the number of sales made from the book for the year.
Mohammed also claimed that he had yet to be paid for the 2015/2016 sale despite the fact that the books were allegedly sold with the UTME form and paid for at the point of registration.
He added that he was surprised when the JAMB registrar, Prof. Is’haq Oloyede, allegedly invited him to a meeting in Abuja in January, asking him to agree with the terms of the publisher to further review down the royalty percentage.
He said, “We have written to JAMB many times and we have not been obliged with a copy of the agreement. In 2016, Cassava Republic declared the sale of 1.2m books despite the fact that more than 1.5million candidates sat for the Use of English test that year.
“When the book was adopted by JAMB, the publisher put pressure on me to sign an addendum to review the percentage of the royalty from an original eight per cent to 4.5 per cent of the N500 cost of each copy. The publisher claimed that the royalty reduction was a result of bulk and export clause. I was underpaid for the first year, but the publisher told me that JAMB paid for only the number of candidates who picked the forms.
“I was not paid the balance for the first year and I have not been paid since then until I saw an advertorial saying that the book would now be used by Direct Entry candidates. I suspect that JAMB is colluding with the publisher because I was invited to an informal meeting by the JAMB registrar in January 2017 and he advised that I accept the terms of the publisher. I don’t know the interest of JAMB in the agreement I have with my publisher. ”
However, in a statement made available to a Punch correspondent, the management of Cassava Republic said it was not obliged to make the copy of its confidential agreement with JAMB available to the author.
It also claimed that the agreement with JAMB covers only two years and that Mohammed would be paid for the second year only when “the legal dispute has been resolved and the author is fully aware of this.’’