The Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASoW) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent the National Council for Social Work [Establishment] Bill 2022.
NASoW President, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha, made this appeal during the opening of the association’s 38th Annual National Conference/Annual General Meeting on Wednesday in Calabar, Cross Rivers state.
The theme of the conference which had social workers across the federation was “Ubuntu – I am because we are: strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness”.
The opening witnessed papers presentations by Professor A. E. Idyorough who presented paper on “Professionalisation of Social Work Education and practice in Nigeria: Our generation and our story”, Barrister James Ibor who presented paper on “Social Work and Ethical Dilemmas in contemporary society”, Mr. Gabriel Undelikwo who presented paper on “Building Professional Synergy for Social and legal programme in Nigeria development, Dr. Mina Ogbabga who presented paper on “Social Work with women and children- An empowerment framework and Mr. Richard Effiong who presented paper on “Building a stronger and formidable social welfare relationship in Nigeria”.
Our correspondent gathered that the National Council for Social Work [Establishment] Bill 2017 had earlier been passed by the National Assembly but in 2018, the president declined assent due to some grey areas.
It was however sent back to the National Assembly where it was reworked and passed in June 2022 and awaiting the assent of the president.
Mustapha while addressing journalists at the event, insisted that signing of National Council for Social Work [Establishment] bill will help to check quackery from social work practice.
He added that the law when signed by President Buhari will give legal backing and promote quality social service delivery to the general public in the country.
He then called on government at all levels to fund social welfare programmes adding that nation building was not all about economic development alone but in the development of humanness.
Mustapha said, “The signing of this bill by President Muhammadu Buhari will help to regulate the practice of Social Work in Nigeria just like the way it is done in the UK, USA, Canada and the rest.
“Social Work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline where practitioners help the individuals, families and organisations to solve their social problems. It is the government that regulates the practice of Social Work all over the world and not an individual. It is the government that regulates Social Work in the UK, USA, Canada and the rest and we believed that Nigeria case will not be an exception.
“That is why we are saying that Social Work in Nigeria is not for sale. We are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to please sign this bill.
“There are a lot of quacks in social work because the services of social workers are not regulated and they have done a lot of harm to the profession. So, regulating the industry will enable us have square pegs in square holes that is why I appeal to Mr President to sign this bill into law”.
NASoW Chairman in Cross River state, Professor Takim Ojua said social workers are a group of people that share common ethical principles and have been properly trained in social work.
Ojua said being a social worker was different from being a philanthropist because he has considerable knowledge of what he is practicing either in the field or in his profession.
“To be a social worker, you must at least have a diploma in social works in a recognized institution, it is also advised that those with diplomas should upgrade and update their knowledge in the profession”.