Citizen is a column that explains how the government’s policies fucks citizens and how we can unfuck ourselves.
Depending on their experience, using the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) has come to mean different things to Nigerians. It can at once be a reliable mail service that delivers around the country in less than three days and a literal snail mail that takes ages to come through. Although the process of sending and receiving parcels promises ease, according to their website, not a lot of people identify with that experience.
To send a parcel, one is typically expected to take the package to a NIPOST office where it will be assessed and weighed at the counter and after payment has been made, a receipt is issued and a possible delivery time is given. In cases where one tries to receive a package, an ID card — both original and a photocopy — is required along with a stipulated payment for the delivery which alternates depending on the size of the package.
But what experiences have Nigerians personally encountered while using NIPOST? Read the 4 experiences shared below.
Generally, I’ve had fair experiences with NIPOST until August last year. I was relocating and had to send some personal effects in a bag containing clothes, books, shoes, etc via NIPOST. To date, the bag hasn’t arrived where I am. My family members and I laid several complaints, and some of them contacted a senior staff of NIPOST that we are acquainted with. Yet nothing. The last time I spoke with them, they had the audacity to say “Let it go. You don’t know the plan God has in allowing this situation.”. I was so upset. Now, I am seeking funds to sue them. Apart from this present predicament, I also had delayed delivery of a Christmas card in 2019. I dropped it off at the post office in early December (5 or 6, I think) so that if the post office moves mad, it would still arrive before the 25th. I called my aunt (the recipient) on the 27th to ask if she had gotten it, and she hadn’t. I called again in mid-January the next year, and she still hadn’t. I wasn’t pleased. I wrote it off as “NIPOST disappointment” and just forgot about it; only for her to call me in February laughing that she had finally gotten the Christmas card. It was funny in the way unfortunate things are funny.
In September 2019, my friend who had recently moved to the UK wanted to have some of his books sent to him from Nigeria, so I collected the books and went to the post office. They checked the books in case I was trying to smuggle any illicit items, after which they weighed them and calculated how much I would have to pay. The amount was within the ballpark of ₦80,000 since the books were heavy, I asked if they had a POS, they said no. So I had to go withdraw ₦80,000, and then they also asked me to buy the sticky tape they would use to seal the package, after I’d bought the tape, I went back to the office, gave the money to the lady who was attending to me and then she packed everything, I left to go somewhere else and then she called me back because she claimed that I had left out some of the money that I was supposed to give her. She had counted the money in my presence and said that it was complete, I was very annoyed but I had to return after she said the package would not be shipped if I didn’t bring the money. I still don’t believe that money was missing, but I still gave her ₦500 more. The experience was stressful because of how dated everything was, they had no computers in the office, no POS, and all the weighing machines were analog. It’s the very definition of snail mail.
I used to buy things from China and it was a mostly smooth experience at the time. Although the shipping fee was very cheap, the goods might take more than a month to get to NIPOST. And they don’t explain anything o. They are rude and they no send you but some of them can be nice too. Some behave as if they are God’s secretary and you need them to have access to God. When the goods are eventually delivered to the NIPOST office in Ijesha I would go with my ID card. Sometimes if the goods are within a certain kilogram, I wouldn’t have to pay but if it weighs above that, I would have to pay. And so, getting deliveries from that branch was a very enjoyable experience. But when my goods were delivered to the Akerele office, it was a struggle. You would have to wait for a very long time and when they eventually decide to attend to you, they will keep referring to different offices until you find your package and you definitely have to pay (₦200) to retrieve your package. Generally, people don’t have good experiences in that office. Most people that have problems with them are those getting things from abroad. They believe they did not get the things legally so they steal out of them or give them trouble in getting it Because I get my goods from China and they know I paid for it and the logistic company from China and hold them responsible if I did not get my goods. So I always get my goods.
In 2019, I used NIPOST and I regretted it. It was June of 2019, I bought some face masks and other skincare products off AliExpress, I sent in the address of the post office closest to my school since I would be home to collect it. I should have just used another courier service or something because my goods were supposedly lost and transit and didn’t return to me until a month later. AliExpress, where I ordered from, kept telling me to check with my post office to collect my product. It arrived in Benin, Edo state, according to AliExpress, on the 24th of July. A month after I ordered it but I didn’t get it until the 17th of August. They said my goods had gotten lost in transit and called me a few days before August 17th to collect my parcel. And to even collect the goods, I had to pay an extra one thousand naira, for cargo. I was very frustrated. I kept going back and forth to their office till I got tired. Now, they’re so expensive that I don’t dare order anything anymore. They’re supposed to balance out prices from private logistics companies but I don’t know what is going on, now I send people or I buy around me. It’s just too much.