The Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASoW), the umbrella body of all Social Workers in Nigeria, has kicked against the substitution of “Nigeria Council for Social Work [Establishment] Bill 2019”, the bill which seeks to regulate the profession of Social Work in Nigeria, for Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners Bill from the Institute of Social Work of Nigeria (ISWON), by the National Assembly.
NASoW, in a statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha, copies of which were made available to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, on Sunday, by the Public Relations Officer of the association, Mr. Musliudeen Adebayo, urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign any other bill aside the Nigerian Council for Social Work Bill which will give total control of Social Work profession in Nigeria to the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
But Mustapha, while speaking, said that the association was surprised that the National Assembly, instead of transmitting the original Nigeria Council for Social Work Bill to President Buhari for his assent, abandoned and substituted the Nigerian council’s bill by given “Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners [Establishment] Bill 2019” accelerated hearing and concurrence passage and sent it to Buhari for his assent.
“Chartered Institute Bill is alien to Social Work profession because Social Workers do not need chartered certificates to take care of the vulnerable and the voiceless. The chartered nonsense is highly ridiculous because there is nothing like Chartered Social Workers, chartered Nurses, Chartered Doctors etc in humanitarian professions.
“The regulatory of Social Work profession in all over the world is always under the control of Government and not under the control of private Shylock organizations, just like it is done in other professions like medicine, law, pharmacy and nursing.
“In order to regulate and professionalise Social Work practice as obtainable in other developed countries, NASoW in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development sponsored a Bill which seeks to establish “The Nigeria Council for Social Work” (a regulatory arm of the Federal Government of Nigeria) which shall regulate the practice of Social Work in Nigeria. This Council shall have same powers like Dental and Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria,
“It is crystal clear in all the aforementioned professions that it is the Federal Government that regulates the practice while the practitioners come together to form association/unions that will cater for welfare of its members. Regulation of similar professions is done by The Federal Government of Nigeria which is the common practice in all countries of the world; and not by private individuals or organization.
“We are surprised that the National Assembly, can concurred a bill that did not pass through due process and left the Original bill that passed through the constitutional process and requirements. Social Work profession suffers one of the highest brain drain in Nigeria due to unfavourable condition to practice. Social Work intervention is needed in the Justice system as prison welfare, parole and probation officers, aftercare and integration service, in health, as psychosocial therapists, resource mobilisers, advocates and rehabilitation officers among other services.
“Finally, we are urging all social workers in Nigeria especially registered NASoW members to be steadfast and continue to render their services to their clients in a professional manner they have been doing. The Association is confident that President Muhammadu Buhari will not sign the Chartered Institute Bill in error.”