By Christian Njoku
The Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASoW) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Nigerian Council for Social Work Establishment Bill 2020.
The appeal was made by the National President of NASoW, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha, during the association’s 38th National Conference/Annual General Meeting on Wednesday in Calabar.
It will be recalled that the Nigeria Council for Social Work 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 said the signing of the social work establishment bill will help check quackery from social work practice, give legal backing and promote quality social service delivery to the general public.
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“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 to have square pegs in square holes that is why I appeal to Mr President to sign this bill into law,” he said.
He said although money was needed to carry out social work, when there was an element of sharp practices, it was no longer social work but a business enterprise.
He 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.
On his part, the Cross River Chairman of NASoW, Prof. 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 practising 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,” he said.
He however noted sadly that although the association in the state was a child of the Cross River Ministry of Humanity and Social Welfare, they have no budgetary allocation from the state.
He said while calling on the state government to look at the direction of the association in the area of funding, they would continue to partner with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in ensuring that they meet the needs of the vulnerable in society.
The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the theme of the conference was “Ubuntu – I am because we are: strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness”. (NAN)
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