By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON) has sent save our soul (SOS), requesting the federal government to assist their teachers and immediate families with a stimulus package cushion the effects of the lockdown and economic hardship caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The association said the appeal became necessary arising from the disruptions and redundancies caused “by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and indefinite closure of non-essential businesses including private and public schools, which come with life-threatening pains” arising from the restriction of inter-state movement.
The request which was contained in a letter addressed to the Minister of Education and titled: “Request for Stimulus Package for Private Schools’ Owners and Teachers”, urged the government to assist its members in facilitating a revolving loan scheme at “highly reduced single rate with at least 5-year interest free moratorium”.
According to the letter which was jointly signed by Dr. Godly E. Opukeme, National president of the association, Alh. Abdur-rahman Marafa, National Secretary and Bishop Emmanuel Elakhe, National Director of administration, said: the plights of teachers in private schools, comprising secondary, primary and kindergarten have been exacerbated by the inability of most proprietors to meet the financial obligation.
The proprietors said private school owners which are the “second largest employer of labour in Nigeria private sector” remain irrevocably committed to the Nigerian project.
Continuing, the association said: “private teachers unlike their counterparts in public sector who enjoy seamless allowances and monthly emoluments have been subjected to public ridicule arising from the failure to pick up accumulated bills since the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020.
“If our request is considered, such a stimulus package will therefore help to keep private school owners overcome the challenges and keep their teachers in business, pay annual renewal fees, dues, rates and rent”, the group said.