Just last week, The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) was in the news for imposing new licensing fees on courier services in the country. The new licensing fees were soundly rebuked by Nigerians who seemed tired of the Nigerian government’s attempts to throttle independent businesses by imposing licensing fees as well as other charges for competitors to operate in the field. They called their senators and members of the House of Representatives, tweeted at Dr. Isa Pantami, the minister under which NIPOST operated, asking him to reverse the decision to target courier businesses. The outrage was understandable,
Nigeria is in the middle of a pandemic that requires people to stay in their homes and limit contact with others, opting instead for home delivery and courier services to get everything from fancy clothing to groceries. This seems the perfect storm for the Nigerian government to experiment with funding the sector to ensure it thrives and continues to generate revenue. Especially because Courier services in the country exist primarily because NIPOST has done an all-round abysmal job of getting Nigerians their intercity and interstate mail. Lost mail is only the least of the problems that come with using NIPOST, there are lost or missing packages, delayed deliveries, reports of petty theft from the belongings of people who receive packages. Any crusade that suggested the closed businesses be reopened is looking for trouble. This is also why the license fees were pushed against.
This week though, Maimuna Abubakar, Chairman of NIPOST and the cock of the walk in last week’s drama has become the feather duster. In a bizarre thread of tweets, Abubakar lamented the interference of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and its alleged encroachment on stamps, which she insists is the sole jurisdiction of NIPOST. In her thread/rant, she implores Nigerians to fight for NIPOST and force the hand of the executive to clearly define the jurisdiction of both organizations, but mostly to ensure that FIRS didnt encroach on her territory.
I am worried for NIPOST, having sleepless night because of NIPOST, we need the general public to come to our aid, FIRS stole our mandate..#justicefornipost
— Maimuna Abubakar (@ref_ng) August 2, 2020
This idea that NIPOST and Ms. Abubakar are somehow victimized when just last week she refused to personally acknowledge the plight of the citizens and small businesses she intended to terrorize with her edict. Sadly no one on Twitter can help her, she will just have to use the appropriate channels to confirm if her fears are grounded in the present reality and the next line of action if it is not.
It is poetic justice however, to see the consequence for actions happen in real time.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.