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    CISWPN president warn against employment of underage house helps

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    Hosea Parah -Abuja

    The National President of Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners of Nigeria, Professor Oluwayemisi Obashoro-John has called on Nigerians against employing underage domestic workers, also known as maids or house helps, vowing to move against the erring employers.

    She made this call at a press conference at the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.

    This is just as the Institute called for the domestication of the Child Rights Act by more states in Nigeria.

    Responding to questions from journalists, Obashoro-John said, “House helps are not the kind of professionals that we are. They are not social workers. A social worker is trained to do that job.

    “A house help is an assistant in a house and is not a social worker. He or she is just taking up a job if the individual has reached the age of taking up a job.

    “So, when you have a child who has not reached the age of taking up a job, then there is a problem. That is where social work will step in to ensure that that child is not given a job because they are not supposed to be doing it or any kind of job. A house-help is not a social worker.

    “We are working with the standard regulation of the International Labour Organisation on who qualifies to be a worker. The ILO says 15 in some areas and 18 in some areas. So, a child that is below – anyone that is below 15 – is not qualified to work. So, if you have a house-help that is below 15, you will have a problem in your hands.

    “Most of them are hidden from us but where the social work steps in is when people tell us, and that is why we are calling on society. Let us know when there are aberrations and violations. When you have an eight-year-old in your house who takes care of your baby, there is a problem there. But we cannot know if neighbours don’t let us know. When we know, we go out and do what is needful.

    “In some cases, we report the case and whatever comes out of it is made known to practitioners.”

    Earlier in her address, Obashoro-John said social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the world, and indeed in Africa. According to her, it is an emerging profession in Nigeria. She stressed that it is recognised as the sole catalyst for improved social well-being in advanced countries.

    Obashoro-John stated that “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. 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.

    “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.”

    The CISWPN president also noted that with the present situation in the country, there is a need for the institutionalisation of strategic government partners to help the understanding of the 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,” she added.

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