Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST)
Postal services in Nigeria are provided by NIPOST. They have several post offices and sub-post offices, in major towns and villages, through which postal services are rendered.
Some of the major services provided by NIPOST are:
1. Sales of Postage stamps/letter posting: This is the most commonly patronised of all the services rendered by NIPOST. Almost every adult of the older generation, in Nigeria, has used this service at one point or another.
2. Express Letter: This service is rendered by NIPOST, for those who have an urgent written message to post. These letters are faster and the senders normally pay more than what is charged, for ordinary letter posting. A label marked “Express” is affixed to the envelope, to differentiate It from other letters. It is signed for by the addressee on receipt.
3. Parcel Post: Parcel service is rendered by NIPOST, to individuals or corporate bodies that may wish to mail parcels or goods, to another person or organisation. Before charges are made, the parcel is weighed.
Goods are usually inspected before acceptance, to ensure they comply with all postal regulations, concerning parcel posts. People having relations, loved ones and friends abroad, use this service to send those parcels and goods.
4. Postage by Air: These are letters carried by airplanes within or outside the country. They are faster than ordinary mails.
In some of the post offices in Nigeria, specially designed airmail envelopes and airmail sheets, with adequate spaces for the sender to write his message, are on sale.
5. Business Reply System: The business reply system is used by businessmen, suppliers, and mail order operators, where a reply is desirable from the customer. With this system, customers who reply to the organisation’s letter, do not pay the cost of a postage stamp, as the cost is borne by the addressees. A license must be obtained from the post office, and some advance payment made before this service can be used.
6. Registration of Letters: Letters are registered when very important documents are mailed. Certificates, cheques, affidavits, applications, curriculum vitae, reference letters, etc, are commonly mailed by registered mail. The envelope containing the letter is handed to the post office registration clerk, at the counter.
The front and back of the envelope are ruled vertically and horizontally, to differentiate it from other mails. The name of the addressee is written in front, while that of the sender should be at the back. If there is any loss, the sender will be compensated.
When a registered letter gets to its destination, the addressee is given a slip, to enable him to visit the post office to personally collect the letter. He must show convincing evidence that he is the addressee. A current driver’s license, international passport, national identification card, etc, are some of the acceptable identifications.
7. Telegrams: This is a means used for sending urgent messages, in written form, through the post office. It is no longer used because of other faster means of communication, such as fax, email, internet, and telephone SMS.
The sender is charged according to the number of words. To cut down costs, only vital words that will convey the message are used. A telegram sent outside the country is called cablegram.
8. Post Office Box (P. O Box) The post office normally rents box numbers to customers, into which their letters are placed, until the contents are collected. The owner is given a key, with which he can collect his letter at any time of the day.
9. Private Mail Bag (PMB) Large firms and most government establishments normally rent the private mailbag, from the post office. Letters belonging to the firm, or organization, are sorted and locked in the bag until the contents are collected, by the owner or his representative. Letters in the private mailbag are kept inside the post office, and therefore can only be collected during the working hours of the post office.
10. Post Codes: These are code numbers given to different towns, cities, and post offices by NIPOST for easy sorting of mails, with a view of delivering letters to the addressee within 24 hours for intracity, 48 hours for intrastate, and 72 hours for intercountry mails.
Benin City for instance is coded 300, while the General Post office (GPO) along Airport Road, Benin City, is given subcode 001. With this innovation, any letter mailed in Nigeria, with code number 300-001, will be easily identified as a letter meant for the General Post office in Benin City.
11. Cash on Delivery (COD) With cash on delivery, the addressee is expected to pay the cost of the items or goods, sent through the post office, on the delivery of the goods. To use this service, approval must be obtained from NIPOST in Nigeria. This service is not commonly used for business transactions.
12. Speed Post/EMS: The speed post is another method used by NIPOST for the delivery of mails at great speed. It is a form of courier service that competes with other courier companies. With this service, it is sometimes possible to deliver mails within 24 hours.
13. Poste Restante: This service is created for tourists or a traveler without a definite address. Letters marked ‘Poste Restante’ are usually kept in the post office, of the destination, to await collection. Before these letters are collected, the addressee must clearly identify himself, for example, General Post Office Samaru; Kaduna, Kaduna State.
14. Postal Order and Money Order: These are methods through which money is remitted through the post office. When the postal order or money order is bought from the post office and sent to the payee, the stated amount is easily cashed on presentation with suitable identification.
It is very safe and reliable, especially compared to currency notes, which could be stolen by fraudulent people or by fraudulent mail clerks.
They are usually available in various denominations. Poundage, which is a form of commission, is charged by NIPOST on every postal order bought.
15. Post Shop: A post shop is a retail outlet created outside the main post office by NIPOST, for the sale of postage stamps and postage letters. Locations such as supermarkets, petrol stations, business centres, churches, pharmacies, schools, clubhouses, hotels, government establishments, etc, approved by NIPOST are used as post shops.
Specifically designed letter posting boxes, supplied by NIPOST, are used when letters are to be posted by the public. The boxes are cleared daily to the main post office by NIPOST staff