Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The Social Workers in Nigeria has urged the National Assembly, state governors, and the state houses of assembly to hasten the domestication of the Act establishing the Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners of Nigeria, recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Professor Oluwayemisi Obashoro-John, while addressing newsmen on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners (ISOWN) in Abuja, said the Act would provide for the regulation and control of social work and its related activities in Nigeria.
She said Nigeria continues to grapple with issues of social development and natural disasters but mostly poor response to emergencies, all of which have adversely slowed down its national growth.
”In response to these challenges, the Nigerian government established the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development to contain the problems.”
She noted, however, that the challenges increased the need for the institutionalization of strategic government partners to help cushion the economic realities and draw up action plans to help address social concerns.
Professor Obashoro-John emphasized that responding to crises, identifying people and communities in need of help, and strengthening and providing support networks for persons in difficulties are only a fraction of the relevance of the profession in Nigerian society.
“Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the world and indeed in Africa. It is recognized as the sole catalyst for improved social well-being in advanced countries.
“Social workers continue to ensure that social problems are addressed; engage people from different levels through empowerment processes to help them reach their fullest potentials, thereby shaping our society for the better.
“The entrance of this Chartered Institute will help galvanize professionals and control the professional practice. At a time like this, there is a need for the institutionalization of strategic government partners to help the understanding of our economic realities, new strategies, and goals, improve existing capabilities and draw up action plans to help address social concerns.
“Considering the critical shortage of social workers in our nation’s schools, where professionals are needed to help young people deal with complex issues such as trauma, poverty, and increasing addiction crises, the Institute’s new status is a great stride in the right direction.
“It is therefore, on this note, that we call on every expert to join the workforce and make conscious efforts to be part of history.”
Meanwhile, the Programme Manager of the Institute, Mr. Aniekan Michael, informed that many institutions of learning in Nigeria were already offering Social Work as a discipline at the first and second-degree levels.
He said, “Now this is what we do at the chartered institute, we are aware of the fact that there is quackery, now just because you own a First Degree isn’t enough to make you a member, so there is a need to have a refreshers programme when we bring you into the space and then begin to offer you certain professional practice where you can come up to speed on what you need to know.”
The Social Works Act No. 25 of 2022, describes the discipline as an applied behavioural profession that promotes human rights, social justice, peace, and conflict resolutions while also engendering social change, problem-solving and sustainable development in human relationships.