If I understand the mind of our President, I believe he wants to establish a world class Social Welfare System which can stand the test of international best practice. In that case, Social Workers are suppose to be core stakeholders in ensuring the success of the intervention processes. Therefore, regulation of Social work practise through an act of parliament should be a matter of priority a key item of the programme to ensure quality control.
Once more, it is important to reiterate here, that the Nigerian populace is in desperate need of genuine social work professional practice. Codifying the social work profession will not only protect the title of social work Diplomas or degree holders it will also protect the service users and clients from abuse that can emanate from work relationships. For instance in accessing services of lawyers and Doctors a person is sure of protection against quackery and substandard practice but not so with social workers because there is no adequate legal instrument that holds them accountable for the quality of services they render to the public.
Now more than ever, we have increasing rates of child abandonment, sexual molestation, different forms of physical and psychological abuses, victims of natural disasters and internal displacement of persons; youth unemployment, underemployment, cultism and gangsters, youths in conflict and contact with the law, school dropouts and truancies. Others are violence against women, gender discrimination and inequality, cases of the physically, mentally challenged and other forms of disabilities, the aged who need assistance to survive the vulnerabilities of old age, Disease, squalor in urban and rural communities with little community action skills human trafficking, baby factories etc. In addition to all these is the huge problems of victim of insurgency in the north East. All these problems require focused and comprehensive attention that cannot be achieved if social work is treated only as a means to a pay check or in the words of Doctor Eze of UNN, a title for anyone who performs an act of kindness.
- The government should make regulation of social work practise a key component of its social welfare policy as it is being done in most developed societies.
- Social workers should push for societal action to regulate their field by joining NASOW and contributing efforts to promote this agenda to its logical conclusion.
- Solicit the partnership of Civil societies, opinion leaders and all influential groups on this project as it will be of benefit to all.
Finally, we in the FCT want to use this opportunity to show our gratitude to all the organisations and people that has supported this effort so far, UNICEF Nigeria, American alliance for Health, The National Assembly, Nigeria, FCT, Social Development Secretariat, Federal Ministry Of women Affairs, International Federation OF Social Workers IFSW, Honourable Nicholas Ossai, Professor Alamveabee Efihraim Idyorough and the entire members of the association who have contributed various effort to promoting social work in Nigeria.
Hadijah Umar Abidoye.