Private schools’ owners groan under COVID-19 lockdown, seek relief

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Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON) has made an appeal to federal and state governments to extend relief to its members to cushion the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

The National President of the Association, Mr Godly E Opukeme, in a statement entitled “Request for stimulus package for Private Schools’ Owners and Teachers,” signed and made available to journalists in Benin, said that the body, in compliance with the federal government’s directive to shut down schools to contain the spread of the virus, has been hit hard by the lockdown.

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The statement reads:

‘Sir, to say that private teachers unlike their counterparts in the public sector who enjoy seamless allowances and monthly emoluments have been subjected to public ridicule arising from failure to pick up accumulated bills since the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020, is stating the obvious.

“Arising from the disruptions and the redundancies caused by the pandemic and indefinite closure of non-essential businesses including private and public schools, which come with life-threatening pains for us, we humbly, request for stimulus package for private schools teachers which would enable them and their immediate families survive the economic hardship and experience in the post-COVID 19 era.’

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Mr Opukeme noted that the consideration of a stimulus package to the private school owners will help reduce the economic impact of the lockdown.

‘Sir, if our request is considered, such a stimulus package will help to keep private school owners overcome the challenges and keep their teachers in business, pay their annual renewal fees (dues, rates and rent) and ward-off potential threats to its survival for optimal productivity in the post-COVID 19 era,’ Opunkeme stated.

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He commended the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Ministry of Education in rising to the challenge of stemming the tide of the pandemic.

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