The Institute of Social Work of Nigeria has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the bill for the establishment of National Council of Social Work into law.
Dr John Emaimo, Executive Director of the institute, made the appeal at the International Conference of the institute in Abuja on Saturday.
He maintained that the president’s approval of the bill would better the lots of vulnerable groups like the aged, orphans and under-privileged persons in the society.
He explained that social work is a profession charged with the responsibilities of provision of relief, social needs, and welfare for those who are unable to meet up with their basic needs.
It also caters for those that have social problems like affliction, induced with drug, congenital disorder and ensure their full rehabilitation and reintegration into the society.
He emphasised that such service delivery could only be efficient when there is a law backing practitioners to swing into action.
“We just need legal backing to do what is expected of us not funding. The issue first and foremost is legitimacy, then the power.
‘‘Majority of the societal vices will be addressed like baby racketing, baby factory, improper care of children in orphanage and adopted children.
“These issues are as a result of lack of supervisory mechanism, lack of standard benchmark on what need to be done but when the council comes into force, of course benchmark will be provided, orphanage will also register among others.
“We need legal backing to enable us operate effectively,’’ he said.
Emaimo said the problem of under-18 persons, who are out of school, could be tackled if the law was enacted to discourage such practice.
“But so far the government has actually established the bill of National Council of Social Work it has passed through the House of Representative and the Senate.
“But we are waiting for the president to assent the bill and once it is assented we can now swing into action, “Emaimo said.
Speaking on the conference theme, Emaimo emphasised the major target of social work practice as rehabilitation and reintegration of clients.
He said that the general believe was that those with social stress could not be cured with drugs alone, adding that with effective social work their challenges would be addressed.
Also, Dr Eze Ifem, President of the institute, said the conference was geared toward development of holistic approach to ensure rehabilitation and reintegration of those challenged with social vices among others.
Ifem, who was represented by Yakub Oni, a member of the institute, said it was to equip members with rehabilitation and reintegration skills.
According to him, over the years there has never been workable plan in these regard to tackle these challenges and make the society better for victims.
“Over the world social work and social care practitioners are encouraged to develop skills that will enable them garner the capacity to rehabilitate and reintegrate clients effectively into active life.
“The conference focused on rehabilitation and reintegration as a necessary component of professional practice for effective social work in Nigeria,” Ifem said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the theme of the conference is: “Rehabilitation and Reintegration within the context of social work.”
Sub themes are, out of school children, women in contact with violence, fistula clients, community violence victims and HIV/AIDS patients.
The main objective is to mainstream rehabilitation and reintegration into professional social work practice in Nigeria.