The legal instrument establishing the Board was promulgated by the Act (No. 2 of 1978) of the Federal Military Government on 13th February, 1978. By August 1988, the Federal Executive Council amended Decree No. 2 of 1978.
The amendments have since been codified into Decree No. 33 of 1989, which took effect from 7th December, 1989. Decree No. 2 of 1978 (amended by Decree No. 33 of 1989) empowered the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board to:
- (a) conduct Matriculation Examination for entry into all Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (by whatever name called) in Nigeria
- (b) appoint Examiners, Moderators, Invigilators, members of the Subject Panels and committees and other persons with respect to matriculation examinations and any other matters incidental thereto or connected therewith.
- (c) place suitably qualified candidates in the tertiary institutions after having taken into account:
- (i) the vacancies available in each tertiary institution
- (ii) the guidelines approved for each tertiary institution by its proprietors or other competent authorities
- (iii) the preference expressed or otherwise indicated by the candidates for certain tertiary institutions and courses
- (iv) such other matters as the Board may be directed by the Honorable Minister to consider or the Board itself may consider appropriate in the circumstances.
- (d) collate and disseminate information on all matters relating to admissions into tertiary institutions or any other matter relevant to the discharge of functions of the board.
- (e) carry out other activities as are necessary or expedient for the full discharge of all or any of the functions conferred on it under or pursuant to this Decree .