Coalition of Social work professional association in Nigeria dissociates from NASOW’s Presidential press statement

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By Palma Ileye

Coalition of Social Work Professional Associations in Nigeria, COSOWPAN, comprising leading Social Work professional associations including the Association of Social Work Educators in Nigeria, ASWEN, Association of Medical Social Workers, AMSWON, Social Welfare Association of Nigeria, SOWAN and the Association of Federal Social Workers, AFSOW has formally announced its unequivocal dissociation from the recent press release issued by the so call President of the Nigeria Association of Social Workers, NASoW, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha.

This is contained in a press release signed and issued yesterday by Aliko Hamma, Chairman, SOWAN, Tunde Baiye, Organising Secretary, AFSWO, Kayode Anthony Ogedengbe, National President, AMSWON, Professor James Ayangunna, National Coordinator, COSOWPAN, Dr Adegbola Gbeminiyi Mujaheed, National Secretary, COSOWPAN.

According to the statement, COSOWPAN expressed dismay and disappointment over NASoW’s President’s reaction to the
inauguration of the long-awaited Governing Board of the Nigerian Council for Social Work by the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister Uju Kennedy Ohanenye.

The statement read, “This is coming at a point where every professional stakeholder is celebrating the Honourable Minister for trail-blazing event to break the jinx on the inauguration of the Council.

“We join the multiple social work professionals to commend the Honourable Minister’s proactive stance in inaugurating the Board, emphasizing the critical role played by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and UNICEF Nigeria in addressing Social Service sector issues at the Federal level.

“It is imperative to clarify that the inauguration was done in accordance with the provisions of the NCSW Establishment Act 2022.

“NASoW President’s statement erroneously disregards this alignment, reflecting a misunderstanding of the Act’s statutory composition and provisions. His statement clearly emanated from misconstrued thoughts in his imagination.

“COSOWPAN wishes to highlights key points for the NASoW President’s consideration: NASoW, like other associations such as AMSWON, ASWEN, SOWAN, and AFSWO, operates within
the ambit of professional affiliations, not as a regulatory body, hence his overriding sense of entitlement is unnecessary and undeserving as their is no section of the Act that mandates the Ministry to consult with NASoW before the constitution of the Council.

“Government oversight supersedes individual or association interests.
The Council’s composition is designed for Professional Social Workers’ representation, a fact overlooked in NASoW’s statement. We are certain that Nasow was duly informed and invited like every other affiliates recognized by the law but Nasow’s mischievous absence at the inauguration was inexplainable, evidently for obvious reasons.

“The Honorable Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister Uju Kennedy Ohanenye’s introduction of ‘NonStatutory membership’ for the Council signifies proactive steps toward its operationalization, aligning with the imminent cessation of Government funding for Regulatory Bodies by December 2024 which is not out of place.

“NASoW’s President issued an unsanctioned statement, devoid of consultation with other Social
Work affiliates, portraying an isolated perspective. He should also note that NASoW or any other association has no business with regards to the Ministry where the Council is domiciled as that is
strictly a Government affairs.

COSOWPAN also wished to stress that NASoW does not have the mandate to regulate professions in Nigeria neither does it possess an overriding stake above other affiliates. We therefore emphasize the Government’s responsibility to establish and supervise councils, as demonstrated by the Honourable Minister’s actions on behalf of the Federal Government.

“In conclusion, COSOWPAN reaffirms its unwavering support for the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and the newly constituted Nigeria Council for Social Work.

“The organization unequivocally distances itself from Alhaji Mustapha’s press release of November 24th, 2023.”