Private school owner turns garri seller in Port Harcourt

Private school owner Rose Ezemazu turns garri seller in Port Harcourt
Credit: BBC Pidgin

A private school owner in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Rose Ezemazu has been forced to sell garri in Sangana market to survive following closure of schools nationwide over the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools in Rivers State shut down on March 21 after the state government gave directives.

Many private school teachers have since that time never receive any salary.

Mrs Ezemazu told BBC Pidgin that she managed to pay her staff half salary in the month of March.

She said she had a staff strength of 14 teachers and three non-academic staff and a total of 128 pupils for her pre-nursery to Basic 6 classes.

“Di last money wey dey my hand na im I take start dis business. Around mid-April I start and di first time na vegetables I bin dey sell like Ugwu and waterleaf but if you no sell dem finish in a day, dem dey quick spoil so I decide to switch over to sell sometin wey no go quick spoil so I begin sell garri,” she said.

“But dis garri sef, no much profit, na turnover I dey look because if I buy a bag of garri, me and my family go chop like half bag. Right now sef, I dey owe di pipo I buy from but at least e dey help us one way or di oda.”

The mother of five said her husband has been forced to ride a taxi after losing his job due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to her, some of her pupils’ parents have relocated to villages while only 12 pupils are active in online classes as parents say they spend too much on data subscription to keep up.

Ezemazu advised the government to give palliatives to schools directly using what she called a census carried out last year.

She said the money would not get to schools who really need it if the government hands the funds over to the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS).