OYO, Nigeria – The National President, Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASoW), the umbrella body of all Social Workers in Nigeria, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha has lamented that the only core profession without a regulatory framework in Nigeria is Social Work.
Mustapha made this declaration while speaking at a four-day 35th National Conference/Annual General Meeting of the association themed “Social Work Regulatory Framework: A Pathway to Promoting Effective Relationships”, which came to an end at the weekend in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
At the event were the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde who was represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Alhaji Fausat Sanni, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Abosede Abioye, Controller of Immigration Service, Oyo State Command, Mr. Saleh Abdullahi, a Professor of Social Work at the University of Ibadan, Professor James Ayangunna and Executive Director, Initiative for Integrated Community Welfare in Nigeria, Dr. Ebunlomo Walker.
Others are veteran Social Workers, among whom are Chief Lasisi Ayoade Busari, Dr. Julius Ola Ojesina and Mr. Mufutau Olaniyan Hammed who were awarded by the association for their selfless services and over two hundred registered Social Workers from the six geo-political zones in the country.
Mustapha while addressing journalists lamented that, “Nigerian Council for Social Work (Establishment) Bill 2017, a bill which seeks to regulate the practice of Social Work in Nigeria, which was passed at the Senate in December 2017 and re-passed as “Nigerian Council for Social Work (Establishment) Bill 2019” in May 2019 by the Senate in 2019 is still pending at the National Assembly.
He used the medium to call on the National Assembly to forward the bill to President Buhari for his assent without wasting more time as he appealed to Buhari to sign the bill as soon as it gets to his table.
“We are talking about framework that will regulate the practice of Social Work in Nigeria, the bill is important to us. If you look at medicine, law and engineering, they are appropriately regulated, we are now saying that we want social work to be regulated too in oder to put a round peg in round hole, to have best practice and to eradicate quackery in Nigeria.
“The bill, “Nigeria Council of Social Work Bill 2019”, is very important to us because Social Work is the only core profession that has not been regulated in the country and this makes it so porous where people who are not competent to practice are doing so. This bill is the only instrument that will give legal support to our practice and that is why it is so much important to us. We have seen some people who claimed to be practicing Social Work and they are not, and then the outcome is very poor. This bill will regulate the practice of the profession in the country.
“The theme for this conference is “Social Work Regulatory Framework. A Pathway to promoting effective relationships”. It is all about social work and professionalism and there is no better time than now so that we can practice our profession the way we feel best without hindrance. I hereby appeal to the National Assembly to forward the Nigeria Council of Social Work Bill 2019 for assent by President Muhammadu Buhari as this bill is the only legal instrument for social work practice in Nigeria.
“NASoW which is the umbrella body of all Social Workers in Nigeria is using this avenue to appeal to the members of the National Assembly to please send the Nigeria Council of Social Work Bill 2019 to Mr. President on time. This bill was passed by the 8th National Assembly in 2017 and 2019. We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the bill as soon as it gets to his table”.
Ayangunna in his lead paper, entitled, “Social Work Regulatory Framework: A Pathway to promoting effective relationships”, insisted it will be very difficult for Social Workers to practice their profession without a regulatory body for social work practice.
He appealed to NASoW and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to make social work in Nigeria a regulated practice.
“It is obvious that without a regulatory body for social work practice, it will be difficult to have quality, standardized practice. Practice shall be akin to a “guess work” with no dignity attracted. The society will not have such confidence in social work as in other professions.
“The aim of the regulatory framework is to enable social work in Nigeria and elsewhere to operate streamlined, proportionate and efficient systems and processes which adapt to emerging opportunities, challenges and best practice just as Social Work England. The aim ensures that professional regulation reflects the challenging reality of delivering social work practice safely and effectively. It also aims at building public trust and confidence in the profession.
“Another aim is to know the registered social workers. In England, there 96, 497 registered social workers as at 2018. Nigeria may not have such record. In Nigeria, the only document that spelt out expectations of social work was the Social Development Policy for Nigeria, 1989”.