By Martin Opara
The National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in the state, have debunked rumour making the round that the Imo State Ministry of Education has imposed a compulsory levy of N30,000 on proprietors of private schools for the fumigation of school premises, in preparation for the forthcoming WAEC and NECO examinations, in line with the guidelines and conditions for the reopening of schools to avert the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chairman of Imo State chapter of the Association, Chief Theo Mbakwe, stated this while reacting to an article by Ogubundu Nwadike, who in a post on Monday 6th August, 2020, stated that the Ministry of Education, under the watch of Prof Ikegwuoha, had mandated proprietors of private schools in the state to pay a levy of N30,000 for the fumigation of their school premises before they will be allowed to re-open for the forthcoming examinations.
The Chairman explained that, prior to this moment, the fumigation of schools was an ongoing exercise, organized by the Environmental Transformation Agency (ENTRACO) through their consultant, Gerald Okeke and sons at the rate of Five Thousand Naira (N5,000) and a certificate was usually issued to fumigated schools by ENTRACO and their consultants.
He posited that the Honourable Commissioner for Education’s present involvement was strictly supervisory, to ensure compliance in line with Covid-19 stipulations for the re-opening of schools.
Chief Nwadike said, he was aware of the N25,000 and the certificate fee of N5,000 as against the N5,000 previously paid for the exercise. “But the planned exercise and the additional fee was suspended because of the confusion and uproar it generated”.
He also noted that the uproar among private school proprietors was hinged on their insistence that government ought to have also fumigated their school premises free of charge as it did for public schools, considering the hardship caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.
He berated the originator of the inciting report for not verifying the authenticity of his story and advised him to always contact stakeholders for clarification before filing his reports, as he is always available and willing to put the records straight.