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Nipost –From Mail Boats to Electronic Mail Services

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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.
In  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. Mails 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 roads 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, and 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,and To represent the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 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, 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, and  To provide and establish non-postal or similar services.

 


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E-Financial

FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

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Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.

FG makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ‎ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

The notice issued by the government to that effect read, ‎“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.‎”

The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.

Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guidelin‎e was not for all Nigerians.

The government attributed the development to misinformation.

The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, ‎“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. ‎FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.

Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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Satellite Operators Push New Signal across Africa, Indian Ocean Regions

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The Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), has started to broadcast a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) signal over Africa and Indian Ocean (AFI), providing its first open service in the region via NIGCOMSAT-1R Satellite managed and operated the by Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd., under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

Satellite Operators Push New Signal across Africa, Indian Ocean Regions

This early open service is provided as part of the programme, which pursues the autonomous provision SBAS services in Africa, to augment the performances of the satellite navigation constellations GPS and Galileo.

With improved accuracy to within a meter, and boosted integrity, availability, and continuity of safety-related applications, these SBAS services will improve flight safety and efficiency in Africa, and also benefit the economy in many areas as land, sea, and rail transport, as well as mass-market applications, supporting user safety, cost-effectiveness, and sustainable development.

The launched open service essentially aims to carry-out technical trials, and to undertake partner airlines field demonstrations for aircraft and rotorcraft, to demonstrate the benefits of the future operational safety-of-life SBAS services, expected from 2024. It will also include early Precise Point Positioning (PPP), and emergency warning service to populations, which performance will be proven through other demonstrations.

The signal-in-space is generated by a dedicated system tested, developed as part of the “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” preliminary design phase, financed by the European Union, and awarded to Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67 per cent), and Leonardo (33 per cent).

The “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” is based on the European EGNOS (1) developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), acting under the delegation of the European Commission and operated by the European GNSS Agency GSA.

The system prototype uses as reference stations the SAGAIE network deployed by CNES and ASECNA with the support of Thales Alenia Space.

The signal is broadcasted via the SBAS payload on NigComSat 1R GEO satellite of the Nigerian Communications Satellite, and an uplink station deployed in Abuja, Nigeria.

It is compliant to the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and the minimum operational performance standard developed by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) organisation.

It will be visible in the whole of Africa and the Indian Ocean, up to the West Australian coast, and also in Europe.

Dr. Abimbola Alale, managing director/chief executive officer of NIGCOMSAT, said: “we are proud to be part of this ambitious program to provide satellite navigation services in the Africa and Indian Ocean region. The use of our geostationary communication satellite NIGCOMSAT-1R navigation payload to broadcast the first signal will be Africa’s premier contribution to SBAS as a regional satellite-based augmentation system for the continent.”

On his part, Benoit Broudy, vice president, Navigation Business at Thales Alenia Space in France, said the longstanding expertise acquired with the development of EGNOS1 SBAS in Europe, and KASS SBAS in Korea, combined with the new leading-edge satellite positioning technologies make Thales Alenia the ideal partner to best support countries to implement their own SBAS efficiently.

“The equatorial region represents also a key engineering challenge for such a system due to difficult ionosphere conditions, for which Thales Alenia Space has developed a proven solution,” he stated.

Mohamed Moussa, director-general of ASECNA, said the provision of the first African SBAS early service is a crucial major step forward in the development of satellite navigation in the AFI region, and in the deployment of the “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” system, the navigation solution for Africa by Africa.

He said: “It demonstrates the ambition and commitment of ASECNA to enhance air navigation safety for the benefit of the whole continent, in line with my vision for the unification of the African Sky.”


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