By Kola Lawan
There appears to be no end in sight in the immediate for the battle for the control of the stamp duty printing and collection between two major agencies of the federal government.
The Nigerian Postal Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Services have been locked in battle in the last few years but the matter got aggravated recently when FIRS went ahead to launch a stamp at an elaborate ceremony in Abuja.
The matter got to another head last week when a lawyer aproached an Abuja court to challenge what he called the illegality of FIRS' action.
However another twist was introduced into it at the weekend as some senior staff of the postal organisation addressed journalists threatening to embark on strike because the jobs of about 15,000 staff of the agency are at the risk of being laid off on account of FIRS' usurpation of NIPOST duty.
The Senior Staff of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies ihas ssued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government within which it should convene a meeting to end the logjam.
General Secretary of SSASCGOC, Dr. Ayo Olorunfemi, said while speaking to press men that many Nigerians have stopped purchasing adhesive stamps from NIPOST.
He said, “It is very painful that while other nations are protecting and developing their postal services and making maximum use of the services for advancement, Nigeria is busy doing things that will kill its own.”
He added “We have not thrown out seeking redress in court to challenge the illegality; we have to exhaust all avenues before seeking redress in court. Some people are trying to play mischief and feeding the President with wrong information. We will not lose less than 15,000 workers and we will not allow that to happen, but we will protect the interest of our members.
“It should be noted that both NIPOST and FIRS are statutory corporations for which this union has jurisdiction to organize their staff. Therefore, our position must always be balanced according to the laws of the land. That is why we are insisting that both organizations must develop a synergy that will enhance higher productivity in the area of stamp matter.
“We recognise the power conferred on FIRS to collect stamp duties just as that of the NIPOST power to produce and issue stamps. These must be acknowledged and recognized in implementing the Finance Act.
“Therefore it is illegal for FIRS to produce stamp to denote duties when it can be procured from NIPOST. It should be noted that stamp is a product of NIPOST as given to it by law. The Finance Act did not