A SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF CHARTERED
INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL WORK PRACTITIONERS OF NIGERIA ON THE
OCCASION OF MEDIA BRIEFING IN RESPECT OF THE ESTABLISHMENT
OF AN ACT FOR THE REGULATION AND CONTRL OF SOCIAL WORK
PROFESSION IN NIGERIA ON 4TH OCTOBER 2022 AT THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES PRESS CENTRE, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.
The Institute is delighted to inform Policymakers, Legislators, Heads of MDAs, Civil
Society groups, International Development Agencies, Concerned Professionals and the
general public of the current position of the law in respect to the profession of social work
in Nigeria as enshrined in the Act establishing the Chartered Institute of Social Work
Practitioners of Nigeria (Act No. 25 of 2022) for the purpose of registration, regulation
and control of the profession in Nigeria.
Further, let me carefully express profound gratitude to the House of Representatives
Press corp for according the Institute this magnitude of support from inception when the
Bill was conceived and carefully making bold statements on the need for the
institutionalization of this practice as a profession to be reckoned with in Nigeria. For this, we are deeply grateful.
According to Act No. 25 of 2022, Social Work means an applied or behavioral profession
that simply promotes human rights, social justice, peace and conflict resolutions,
engendering social change, problem solving and sustainable development in human
relationship focusing on the empowerment and liberation of people and enhancing the
well-being of individuals, families, groups and communities, and utilising the theories of
human behavior and social system.
Social Work as a profession originated in the 19th century England, and had its roots in
the social and economic upheaval wrought by the Industrial Revolution, in particular the
societal struggle to deal with the resultant mass urban-based poverty and its related
problem. History also has it that an attempt to practice professional social work in Nigeria
started in the city of Lagos around the end of World War 11. It was recorded that returnees
of the war introduced a new and challenging lifestyle. The situation of Lagos as a social
melting point also posed a challenge to the established rudiments of African family
Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the world and indeed in Africa.
Permit me to say clearly here that it is an emerging profession in Nigeria. It is recognised
as the sole catalyst for improved social well-being in advanced countries. A closer and
professional look at the general society shows that the difference between the advanced
world and the developing world lies mainly in the level of social work practiced. Hence,
the importance of this great profession in Nigeria.
The role of social workers in our society is to:
- Identify people and communities in need of help
- Assess clients’ needs, situations, strengths and support networks to determine their
- Help clients adjust to changes and challenges in their lives, such as illness, divorce or
- Research into, refer and advocate for community resources, such as food stamps,
childcare and health care to assist and improve a client’s well-being
- Respond to crisis situations such as child abuse and mental health emergencies
- Follow up on clients to ensure that their situations have improved
- Maintain case files and records
Develop and evaluate programs and services to ensure that basic client needs are met
- Provide psychotherapy services.
With these in mind, Social Workers continue to ensure that social problems are addressed; engage people from different levels through empowerment processes in order to help them to reach their fullest potentials thereby shaping our society for the better.
For over a decade of existence in Nigeria, The Chartered Institute of Social work
Practitioners of Nigeria (formerly Institute of Social Work of Nigeria) is set to reposition the profession taking into account the tremendous strides of heroes past in ensuring the practice gains her pride of place in Nigeria and more important among disciplines of interest in contemporary times.
Today, we salute the careful concern, understanding and intellectual sagacity of His Excellency, The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Mohammadu
Buhari, who has taken the bull by its horns and has assented the charter of social work profession in Nigeria to ensure legitimate practice through adequate control and regulation. We must also commend the efforts of the Lead Ministries, The Parliament and all Stakeholders for the continuous push to ensure a better Nigeria for all through this
The Institute is therefore mandated by law to carry out the following functions;
I. Determine the standards of knowledge and skills to be attained by persons seeking to
become members registered as chartered social work practitioners, and raise the standards as circumstances may permit;
II. Secure in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the establishment and maintenance of register of members;
III. Build professional capacities and provide professional guidance to members for
enhanced service delivery in the chosen areas of the institute’s professional practice;
IV. Create and advance consciousness in the professional practice of social work, provide
a forum for the interaction of practising social work practitioners and collaborate with
individuals, groups and corporate bodies with interest in social work practice with the
aim of sharing professional and technical skills, experiences, benefits and research
findings for the advancement of professional social work;
V. License and provide professional proficiencies and guidance to members in practice and to persons who shall practice as social work practitioners;
VI. Issue code of conduct booklet to serve as catalyst guiding the professional behaviour
of the members of the institute.
In Nigeria today, there are particularly challenges relating to social development which
have hindered national growth. In response to these challenges, the Nigerian government,
established the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social
Development to contain the very many problems. The entrance of this Chartered Institute will help galvanise professionals and control the professional practice.
It is worthy of note at a time like this that, there is need for the institutionalization of
strategic government partners to help the understanding of our economic realities, new
strategies and goals, improve existing capabilities and draw up action plans to help
address social concerns. Considering the critical shortage of social workers in our nation’s
schools, where professionals are needed to help young people deal with complex issues
such as trauma, poverty, increasing addiction crises, the Institutes new status is a great
stride in the right direction.
The Institute will embark on proper registration of existing practitioners into appropriate
categories, train and retrain both existing and new members to meet up with the basic
required practice standard as applicable worldwide. Efforts will be made to position social workers in line with contemporary professions in Nigeria and set new agenda that is commensurate with international best practice. Membership will be open to Social
Workers at the Officers level, Assistant level and Auxiliary level as well. Registration will
be made available to qualified persons on all social work desks across MDAs, Civil
Societies and International Development Agencies.
In a few months from today, precisely November, The Institute will hold her Annual
International Conference which will feature the participation of delegates from different
countries and all states in Nigeria. The gathering will draw together leading professionals
and stakeholders who will review and draw up the content for holistic action plan that will
help address social issues in Nigeria and help reposition the practice to meet standard
globally accepted professionalism. It is therefore on this note, that we call on every expert to join the work force and make conscious efforts to be part of history.
On behalf of the Institute, we say thank you to every Nigerian, we look forward to the
opportunity of sharing with colleagues, stakeholders, government agencies, civil society
groups, media and all connected to the efforts we are making to bring an end to the many
problems affecting quality of service within the profession and to reposition the institute
to complement government efforts for a structured practice.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we strive to improve the quality of life in our
nation at the individual, family, community and national level, it is also time to recognize
that there is a new generation of social workers who are already making positive marks
on our society through quality of service and practice.
Professor Oluwayemisi Obashoro-John
For more information contact; Aniekan Michael, ISOWN Communications Manager on
email@example.com or +2348029547902 • for more information about ISOWN 13th Annual 2022 conference