The history of the Post in Nigeria dates back to the 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. (1862) when the Post Office began its career as a full-fledged 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.
Mail was 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 was 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 organization 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.
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