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HISTORY OF THE NIGERIAN POSTAL SERVICE
The history of the Post in Nigeria dates back to 19th century. The first post office was established by the British Colonial Masters in 1852. It was considered to be a part of the British postal system. It was a branch of London General Post Office and this was the situation till 1874. (1862) when the Post Office began its career as a full fledge Department , the Royal Niger Company (RNC) which was actively involved in economic activities in the country, set up its own postal system in Akassa in 1887, Calabar in 1891, Burutu in 1897 and Lokoja in 1899. Mail were being moved from these trading stations to and from Lagos by a weekly mail boat.
In 1898, the British Post Office established post offices at Badagary, Epe, Ikorodu, Ijebu-Ode, Ibadan and Abeokuta. In 1892, the Royal Niger Company became a member of the Universal Postal Union. By 1908, Money Orders and mail were directly exchanged with the German West African Colonies instead of via London, as it was the practice.
In 1925, Royal Airforce planes flew from Kano to Cairo carrying mail for the first time outside the country. From January 1, 1900, the Southern Nigeria Government took over the responsibility of running the postal system in the entire country. There were not too many good road in those days as such mail were conveyed by canoes, launchers and runners which could only operate at intervals of two weeks or less.
The first post-office in Northern Nigeria was established and located at Lokoja in 1899. While mail delivery was initially the business focus, British Postal orders were being sold and encashed as from 1907 in post offices located at headquarters of all District Commissioners. Internal AirMail flights started in 1931. By 1906, 27 Post Offices were operating and at the time of independence in 1960, 176 Post Offices, 10 sub Post offices and 1,000 Postal agencies were in the country.
At independence, the post was administered jointly with Telecommunications as a government department. Later, postal establishments and services grew in leaps and bounds. The Federal Government by Decree No. 22 of 1966 made the department a quasi-commercial organisation a step towards making it more efficient and responsive to public needs.
The Nigeria Postal service Department came into being with the establishment of the Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) on January 1, 1985. NITEL emerged from the merger of the Telecommunications arm of the defunct Post and Telecommunications Department of the Ministry of Communications with the former Nigeria External Telecommunications Limited (NET). Through the promulgation of decree No. 18 of 1987, NIPOST became an Extra-Ministerial Department.
The decree provided among other functions of NIPOST, the following:
To provide and operate facilities for collection, dispatch and distribution of inland and overseas mail at reasonable cost.
To provide and operate facilities for remittance of money through the money or postal order systems.
To provide and operate philatelic services in Nigeria.
To print and provide postage stamps for payment of postage tariff and payment of stamp duties.
To represent Nigeria in its relations with other postal administrations and other bodies concerned with postal services. Prior to 1992, NIPOST operated as an Extra-Ministerial Department in the Ministry of Communications while Decree 18 of 1987 went through various amendments.
In response to the call to grant NIPOST some measure of autonomy, the Federal Government promulgated Decree 41 of 1992 and classified NIPOST as a Government Parastatal having the following basic functions:
To develop, promote, and provide adequate and efficiently coordinated postal services at reasonable rates.
To maintain an efficient system of collection, sorting and delivery of mail nationwide.
To provide various types of mail services to meet the needs of different categories of mailers.
To establish and maintain Postal facilities of such character and in such locations consistent with reasonable economics as will enable the generality of the public to have ready access to essential postal services.
To represent the Federal Republic of Nigeria is her relations with other Postal Administrations and International bodies.
In addition to the above stated functions, NIPOST also has powers:
To determine the need for Post Offices, Postal facilities and equipment as it may determine.
To prescribe the amount of postage stamps and the manner in which it is to be paid.
To provide Philatelic Services.
To establish and review Postal Tariff.
To explore additional services to boost its revenue.
To provide and establish non-postal or similar services