By Helen Ovbiagele
Many readers of this column, in reacting to the piece on NIPOST and its post code directory, condemn NIPOST’s actions.
Like me, most of them were outraged to find that the purchase of the directory was mandatory if you want to renew your mail box for 2012.
‘Madam, what’s this nation becoming? A nation of thieves, cheats and 419 people? A knowledge of post code in any nation helps the post office workers more than their customers, in that it aids speedier sorting of mails. But it doesn’t ensure prompt delivery of mail, because NIPOST delivers mail at its own pace.
If every citizen is in possession of this post code directory, it doesn’t mean that delivery of mail would be faster. So those who rent NIPOST mail boxes shouldn’t be forced to purchase it, and then be punished with non-renewal of our mail boxes if we refuse to. This is daylight robbery on the part of NIPOST. The Ministry of Communications should look into this. - Segun, Agege’
‘NIPOST should know that it isn’t everyone who has a post office mail box, that sends mail by NIPOST. Personally, I stopped sending anything by NIPOST due to slow pace of delivery, and loss of mails and parcels that NIPOST couldn’t trace.
I use a private courier when I want to send mail or parcels, but I rent a NIPOST mail box to establish some permanency in my postal address because, mail sent to home addresses can go missing. A post code directory is quite useless to me, and I think it’s unfair to force mail box users to purchase it. - Roland, Warri.’
‘Greetings. Just finished reading your write-up on NIPOST mail fee rip-off. I was made to pay too. It’s pure FRAUD! - Akinwale.’
‘If NIPOST wants to be fair in this sale of post code directory, their staff should be asked to monitor those who come to buy stamps, or post letters and then force its sale on them. That would mean, without buying the directory, NIPOST wouldn’t sell you stamps or allow you to post your letters.
Mail box users are already charged an annual fee for the rent, so, they’ve paid for that service. Forcing them to buy the directory, is double charge, and this is cheating. - Kemi, Ibadan.’
‘Anticipating an outcry from users of their mail boxes, NIPOST must have trained and cautioned its staff on how to handle those who come to complain. If you’re dipping your hand into somebody’s pocket illegally, you’ll have to do so with a lot of courtesy and cunning, otherwise you’d have a riot on your hands.
This doesn’t excuse this fraud by NIPOST. They should be made to refund the money they forced out of their customers. If this would be awkward, then it should be removed from 2013’s rent. – Thanks, Cecil, Port Harcourt.’
‘Madam,if you say your mailbox fee jumped up, what would you say about Lagos State University fees and Edo State C of O fee increasing; not forgetting the cost of getting and renewing vehicle plate numbers, etc?’
‘With regards to your piece on mail box fee, I had very similar experience in Benin City. I wish I were still a UNIBEN student. Aluta would have saluted that extortion. - Dr. Odai Emeka (JP).’
‘Madam, NIPOST has no moral right to force the purchase of its post code directory on its mail box users. They already pay fees for the rent of the box given to them, why should they be penalized further by forcing on them, the purchase of this item that is of no use to many of them? It’s because Nigerians are a docile lot that NIPOST is doing this sort of thing with impunity. Talk of daylight robbery! - Nonso, Abakaliki.’
‘I do send my mails through NIPOST, but I don’t have a mail box, so I wasn’t ‘asked to purchase a post code directory. However, I agree with you, madam, that the directory should not be forced on NIPOST customers of any sort. A friend who uses a mail box grumbled when he had to purchase it, and when we both went through it, we couldn’t see the justification of forcing its purchase on mail box users.
The elite may smile and wonder what the fuss is all about in a ‘mere’ N1,785, but the daily pay of millions of Nigerians is a lot less than that. How many Nigerians earn fifty thousand naira a month? The federal government approved monthly minimum wage is eighteen thousand naira! Some states are saying it’s a bit stiff for them. To allow NIPOST to get away with this sort of Rip-off, is exposing the nation to ridicule. - Umoh, Calabar.’
‘Madam Helen, thank you for that piece on NIPOST and their illegal sales of Post Code directory to their mailbox customers! I don’t know how many Nigerians rent NIPOST’s mail boxes, but proceeds from the sales of this directory are bound to put several millions into the coffers of NIPOST. I was forced to buy one too. I argued and argued, but to no avail. You either buy one, or risk your mailbox being locked up.
I’m now lumbered with a directory that I have absolutely no use for, and which is taking much space on my shelf and gathering dust. I would have found it useful and not complained if it were a directory of businesses and establishments, although I would have still thought that forcing it on me was an infringement on my basic human rights. - Ahmed, Kaduna.’
‘Can the government explain to us why it’s allowing NIPOST to do this sort of daylight robbery? There’s an outcry about lecturers selling handouts on their subjects to university undergraduates. We feel they’re paid to teach our children, and they’re not to sell the knowledge which they’re paid to impart in the first place.
Now, post code is meant to speed up the sorting of letters, and this is part of the duties of the NIPOST worker. Details about post code are free worldwide, or, added to business directories. If my memory serves me well, they used to be pasted on the walls of post offices in the cities.
We’re to be encouraged to use this information, not charged for it. NIPOST should be made by government to halt the sales of this directory, and as for those who’ve been made to buy them, the cost should be deducted from the mail box fee they would pay in 2013. Thanks - Harry, Jos.’
‘The idea of a directory from NIPOST is not bad, but no-one should be forced to buy one. I had to buy one, as a condition for renewing the rent on my mailbox, but the information given there is scant and rather confusing. I couldn’t find the area I live in, or where I send mail to in the country, in the directory.
Also, I couldn’t understand how it is to be used. Some feeble attempts were made at giving information on Nigera e.g. States and their capitals, no of local governments, and appellation title; some details on some African countries, and a bit on world in summary. This is poor work. A comprehensive business directory would have been more useful. - Ajayi, Lekki.’
We thank all those who wrote in, but could only publish these few.