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Don challenges social workers on new approach to social problems

He argued that some social problems in Nigeria have their roots in borrowed foreign cultures which cannot be solved by the sole application of indigenous solutions

Felix Ikem, Nsukka

Social workers in Nigeria have been advised to adopt an intercultural approach to solve social problems instead of relying solely on the traditional methods.

Professor Chibueze Udeani, a scholar from Julius Maximilian University Germany, gave the advice at the 1st International Conference of the Department of Social Work, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

Udeani, delivering a keynote address at the conference, said that although the call for the indigenisation of social approach would help rediscover the cultural perspective of social problems of the people, there was a need to understand what was being indigenised.

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He argued that some social problems in Nigeria have their roots in borrowed foreign cultures which cannot be solved by the sole application of indigenous solutions and theories espoused in social work texts.

The German-based Professor, who spoke on the topic “Social Worker in Contemporary Nigeria Society: Challenges and Prospects”, called for the optimisation of social education and the updating of social work curriculum to provide contemporary solutions to Nigeria’s social problems.

Remarking, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Benjamin Ozumba, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Prof James Ogbonna, thanked the department for holding the conference at a time “Nigeria is in dire need of social solutions to many social problems in the country”.

“The theme of this conference, ‘Emerging and contemporary social issues: the place of social work education and practice in Nigeria’ is very apt and timely because there is much social workers can do to help the country.”

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The Head, Department of Social Work and first Professor of Social Work in Nigeria, Prof Uzoma Odera Okoye, said that the conference provided an avenue for practitioners and teachers of social work in Nigeria to come together and deliberate on emerging social problems and their solutions in the country.

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“The theme of the conference provides us with an opportunity to share ideas on how to develop solutions to contemporary social work problems that traditional social work methods cannot solve,” Prof Okoye said.

She noted that many social problems in Nigeria, such as terrorism, illegal migration, herdsmen attacks and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were new and could not be solved by existing theories, models and perspectives in traditional social work texts; stressing that the conference was meant to remind social workers of their responsibilities to the Nigerian society and the need for them to rise to the challenge.

The conference was attended by German scholars on exchange programme in the Department of Social Work, UNN, representatives from FRSC, NDLEA, NAPTIP and social work teachers from different universities in Nigeria.

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