By Ezra Ukanwa
THE Federal Government, FG, on Monday, announced its decision to improve the country’s social welfare framework as part of efforts to help Nigerians cope with the array of challenges in the country.
The minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, made this known at the 1st conference of Directors, Social Development/Welfare, in Abuja.
The Minister who was represented by the Director, General Service in the Ministry, Yakubu Austin, while identifying the importance of national social welfare, bemoaned the current state of recreational, cultural, educational services across the country.
She, however, tasked directors in Social Development and Welfare departments to work out modalities and strategies geared towards eradicating poverty in Nigeria and improving the lives of Nigerians generally.
She said: “Social welfare is an organized function with a set of activities to enable individuals, families, groups, and communities to cope with social problems of changing conditions. It plays a major role in contributing to the effective mobilization and development of human and material resources of the country to deal with the social requirements of change hereby participating in nation building In the narrowest sense, social welfare Includes those nonprofit functions of society, public or voluntary, which are targeted towards poverty reduction or at ameliorating the conditions of the casualties of the society. Le all social interventions made to enhance or maintain the social functioning of human beings.
“Consequently, Social welfare embraces all efforts aimed at improving health, education, employment, housing, recreational, and cultural services for the community at Characteristics of social welfare include serving community interest, value-based care and non-market activities. Social welfare should be accessible to all and accountable to the public.
“There is no gainsaying that, Social welfare activities in Nigeria are largely undeveloped, poorly funded, and neglected. The services available are grossly inadequate compared to the number of people who need the services. Unlike the developed countries, it locks in welfare benefits, which is the key component of the developed systems social problems such as child abandonment, armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism, drug trafficking.HIVIAIDS, divorce and problem of single parenting are major problems that need increasing and urgent concern.
“I would like to advise the State Ministres directly involved in having a comprehensive framework and structure in place for monitoring and evaluation while at the same time ensuring that the wrong persons do not abuse the services. You are equally expected to work out strategies that would ensure the successful eradication of poverty in our communities through your operations in the field. With the caliber of participants I have seen today, I have no doubt in my mind that the suggestions and recommendations that would be made in this conference will not only be useful to Government policy making but also to non-governmental organizations in delivery of social services in the country.”
Earlier, the director Social Development Department of the Ministry, Ademola Bashorun, represented by the Deputy Director, Social Inclusion and Protection, Peter Audu, said: “in line with its mandate, the Ministry as the lead Agency of the Nigerian Government in the implementation of Social Development policies and programmes has just begun the processes of reviewing the Social Development Policy Guideline for the country.”