Addressing Social Security Needs of Nigerians Through Counseling Intervention

Social Security

Social Security

Dr. Rashid A. Adedokun

Department of Education & Counselling Psychology,

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University,

Lapai, Niger State,


Paper presented at the

2012 International Conference of Counselling Association

of Nigeria (CASSON)

held at

International Conference Centre,

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)

Ile-ife, Osun State, Nigeria


27th – 31st August, 2012.


Dr. Rashid A. Adedokun,

Department of Education & Counselling Psychology,

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University,

Lapai, Niger State.


G.S.M Number: 08034497081


In developing countries, most especially Nigeria, the issue of adequate social security for the citizenry has not been given the desired attention by successive Administrations. To identify the social security needs of Nigerians therefore, a questionnaire designed and tagged SOCIAL SECURITY IMPLEMENTATION QUESTIONNAIRE was administered on five hundred respondents. The responses were analyzed by using frequency and rank ordering techniques. Findings of the study revealed that employment opportunities should be created, most especially for the large population of youths who may be engaged in public service or assisted to set up their own jobs; more institutions of learning with adequate facilities should be provided, pensioners’ entitlements should not only be paid as at when due, but also increased to meet the standard of living; the aged people should be provided with decent living conditions; and the physically-challenged made to have a sense of belonging; salaries/wages of workers both in the public and private sectors should be constantly reviewed and increased Counselors should be appointed in all settings (private, public, industrial and others ) to enlighten Nigerians on this inalienable right of social security. Counseling Association of Nigeria through its conferences, workshops and seminars could also design enlightenment programmers for the Government and citizens on social security.

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Social security is a concept enshrined in Article 22 of the “Universal declaration of Human Rights” which states that: Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through National effort and International cooperation, and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. In simple term, this means that the signatories agree that society in which a person lives, should help them to develop, and to make the most of all the advantages (culture, work, social welfare) which are offered to them in the country.

In Nigeria, there are people in need of social security. They constitute the Nigerian Labour Force, the Youth, the Aged, the Almajiris, the Drop-outs, the Physically-Challenged etc. This has not however been properly addressed due to Government insensitivity, lack of political will, misplaced priority by Government, ignorance of citizens on their rights, absence of Mass Education. The security needs of these categories of Nigerians are so diverse that they need positive intervention to implement. These needs bother on wages of workers, employment opportunities, insurance and others.

Social security may also refer to the action programmes of government intended to promote the welfare of the population through assistance measures, guaranteeing access to sufficient resources for food and shelter, and to promote health and well-being for the population at large and potentially vulnerable segments, such as children, the elderly, the sick, and the unemployed services providing social security, are often called social services.

Terminology in this area in the United States is somewhat different to that in the rest of English-speaking world. The general term for an action programme in support of the well-being of the population in the United States is welfare programme and the general term for all such programmes is simply welfare.

In other countries, the word, welfare, on its own, simply means ‘well-being’. In American society, which tends to promote individualism and dependence, the term welfare, has therefore developed into one which has negative connotations, and seen by some as un-American. In the rest of the English-speaking world, welfare, where still retains its original meaning of well-being, it is thus generally perceived as having positive connotations. The term, social security, in the United States refers to a specific social insurance programme for the retired and the disabled. In most other countries, social security has the general meaning of being secure in society and free from the insecurities of poverty, disease, etc.

Social security may refer to:

 Social insurance where people receive benefits or services in recognition of contributions to an insurance programme. These services typically include: provision for retirement, pensions, disability insurance, survivor benefits, and unemployment insurance.

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 Services provided by government or designated agencies responsible for social security provision. In different countries, this may include: medical care, financial support during unemployment, sickness or retirement, health and safety at work, aspects of social work, and even industrial relations. (Modighiani, 2004).

 Basic security, irrespective of participation of specific insurance programmes where eligibility may otherwise be an issue. For instance, assistance given to newly arrived refugees for basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing, education, money and medical care.

 Unemployment benefits. This policy is usually applied through various programmes designed to provide a population with income at times when they are unable to care for themselves. Income maintenance is based on a combination of five main types of programmes: (Peter, 2009).

 Social insurance mentioned earlier in this paper.

 Means tested benefits. This is financial assistance provided for those who are unable to cover basic needs, such as food, clothing and housing, due to poverty or lack of income, because of unemployment, sickness, disability, or caring for children. While assistance is often in the form of financial payments, those eligible for social welfare can usually access health and educational services free of charge. The amount of support is enough to cover basic needs, and eligibility is often subject to a comprehensive and complex assessment of an applicant’s social and financial situation.

 Non contributory benefits. Several countries have special schemes administered with no requirement for contributions and no means for test, for people in certain categories of need; for example, veterans of Armed Forces, people with disabilities and very old people.

 Discretionary benefits. Some schemes are based on the discretion of an official, such as a social worker.

 Universal or categorical benefits, also known as demogrants. These are non-contributory benefits given for the whole sections of the population without a test of means or need, such as family allowances, or the public pension in New Zealand (known as New Zealand Superannuation).

 Social Protection. Social protection refers to a set of benefits available (or not available) from the State, market, civil society, and households or through a combination of these agencies, to the individual/households to reduce multi-dimensional deprivation . This multi-dimensional deprivation could be affecting less active poor persons (e.g. the elderly, disabled and active persons (e.g. the unemployed).

This broad framework makes this concept more acceptable in developing countries than the concept of social security. Social security is more applicable in the conditions, where large numbers of citizens, depend on the formal economy for their livelihood. ThRough a defined contribution, this social security may be managed. But in the context of widespread informal economy, formal social security arrangements are almost absent for the vast majority of the working population. Besides, in developing countries, the State capacity to reach the vast majority of the poor people may be limited because of its limited resources. In such a context, multiple agencies that could provide for social protection is important for policy consideration. The framework of social protection is thus capable of holding the State responsible to provide for the poorest sections by regulating non-state agencies.

Collaborative research from the Institute of Development Studies debating ‘Social Protection’ from a global perspective, suggests that advocates for social protection fall into two broad categories: ‘instrumentalists’ and ‘activists’. Instrumentalists argue that extreme poverty, inequality and vulnerability is dysfunctional in the achievement of development targets (e.g. the Millennium Development Goals MDGs).

In this view, social protection is about putting in place risk management mechanisms that will compensate for incomplete missing insurance (and other) markets, until a time that private insurance can play a more prominent role in that society. ‘Activists’ arguments view the persistence of extreme poverty, inequality and vulnerability, as symptoms of social injustice and structural inequality and see social protection as a right of citizenship. Targeted welfare is a necessary step between humanitarianism and the ideal of a ‘guaranteed social minimum’, where entitlement extends beyond cash or food transfers, and is based on citizenship, not philantrophy (Devereux, Sabates Wheeler (2007).

Purpose of the Study

Having observed that social security has not been given the desired attention by Government, which had led to deprivation on the part of Nigerians, the main purpose of the study was to identify the social security needs of Nigerians and make appropriate recommendations as may be desireable.

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Research Questions

Three research questions were proposed for the study:

(i). Who are those in need of social security in Nigeria?

(ii). What are the contributory factors to implementation of social security in Nigeria?

(iii). What items constitute the social security needs of Nigerians?


This is a Survey Research. The sample for the study consisted of five hundred (500) Nigerians who responded to the five hundred (500) questionnaires distributed randomly within the twenty-five (25) Local Government Areas of Niger State. Copies of the questionnaires were distributed through the support and assistance of Heads of Administration in the various Local Government Councils; and subsequently collected through them after three weeks. All the questionnaires were filled and returned. The percentage of return was 100% because the Heads of Administration in the twenty-five Local Government Areas were highly cooperative and supportive.


The instrument for data collection was the SOCIAL SECURITY IMPLEMENTATION QUESTIONAIRE (SSIQ) designed by the researcher. The instrument contained three sections: A,B and C. Section A identified those in need of social security; Section B identified the various factors that had affected the non-implementation of social security; while section C identified the social security needs of Nigerians. Draft copies of the questionnaire were given to three professional colleagues for face validity. All comments and criticisms were taken into consideration in the final adoption of the instrument for the research. The instrument was subjected to test-retest. The re-test was administered on the sample after two weeks. Data obtained from the two tests were correlated, with the use of Pearson Product Moment Correlation. The co-efficient value of 0.72 was obtained. This established the reliability of the instrument for the research.

Analysis of Data

Data collected were analysed, using frequency and rank ordering techniques.


The results of the research were presented thus:

Table 1 Those in need of Social Security.


1 The Workers 500 100%

2 The Youths 500 100%

3 The Aged 500 100%

4 The Physically Challenged 500 100%

5 The Dropouts 500 100%

6 The Almajiris 500 100%

7 Women Employees 500 100%

All groups were in need of social security

Table 2 Factors Affecting implementation of Social Security.


1 Government insensitivity 500 100%

2 Lack of political will by Government 500 100%

3 Misplaced priority by Government 500 100%

4 Ignorance of citizens on their rights 400 80%

5 Absence of Mass education 350 70%

Table 2 indicates the number of positive responses to all the items in the Section B of the questionnaire i.e the respondents agreed that all the identified factors affect non-implementation of social security.

Table 3 Social Security needs of Nigerians.


1 Adequate wages for workers 350 70%

2 Employment of youths 500 100%

3 Improved living conditions for the Aged 250 50%

4 Improved package for pensioners 500 100%

5 Adequate care of physically challenged 400 80%

6 Welfare programme for drop-outs 360 72%

7 Mass Education for the citizenry 450 90%

8 Enlightenment programme on citizens’ rights 450 90%

9 Increase in maternity leave for female employees 200 40%

10 Life insurance for workers 350 70%

Table 3 indicates that the respondents agreed that all the identified social security needs are quite essential for Nigerians.

Discussion of Findings

The results of this research as reflected in Table (1) lend credence to the fact that Nigerians, irrespective of their callings, need adequate social security. This is in line with Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that: “Everyone, as a member of the society, has the right to social security and is entitled to its realization through National and International Cooperation”. Thus, whether one is a worker in the public or private sector, youth, the aged, the physically-challenged, the drop-outs, the Almajiris, etc, everyone needs social security. It is the fundamental right of every citizen.

Table (2) results identified various factors affecting non-implementation of social security in Nigeria. Successive Administrations had been insensitive to the plight of Nigerians on this inalienable right. Where the Government tried to make move, the blue prints were either abandoned or not implemented. Coupled with this is lack of continuity in Government policies and programmes. Billions of Naira which could have been invested in the welfare of the citizens are wasted on frivolous projects. Another identifiable factor is the fact that many citizens are not aware of this fundamental right to social security; and appropriate Agencies do not educate the citizens on this Right.

Table (3) identifies the social security needs of Nigerians to include adequate wages for workers, employment of Youths, improved living conditions of Aged, improved package for pensioners, adequate care of the physically-challenged, welfare programme for drop-outs, mass education for the citizenry, enlightenment programme on citizens’ rights, increase in maternity leave of female employees and life insurance for workers. These are in line with the New Zealand contributory benefits provided for the whole sections of its population known as New Zealand Superannuation.

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This research has been able to identify the social security needs of Nigerians. While it is desirable that the needs are met by the appropriate bodies, Nigerians need to be properly enlightened and educated on this right. With these needs in place, the welfare of the citizens would be adequately guaranteed. Counselors and all those in the helping professions need to face this challenge of positive intervention.


Prices of products keep on skyrocketing everyday and this calls for an adequate minimum wage for all workers, both in the private and public sectors. The re-introduction of Price Control Board is equally desirable. In addition, workers deserve decent and adequate accommodation. Workers who find themselves in rural areas need also to be adequately compensated through the payment of special allowances. Youths constitute the greater percentage of the population of Nigeria. This group of Nigerians deserves to be gainfully employed; they could either be in public sectors or adequate funds provided for them to set up their own jobs. The Aged could be taken care of as obtained in Western countries.

A living minimum wage to sustain all workers should be provided by Government and Employers of Labour. The total takehome package for a retired worker in Nigeria is grossly inadequate and a review of the package needs to be done to improve their standard of living. Government should look into the plight of the physically-challenged to dissuade them from begging for alms. They need to be properly rehabilitated and given sound education and vocation. The dropouts, including the Almajiris should be adequately taken care of in terms of integrating them through formal and Vocational Education. The Mass Education programme of Government needs to be reviewed and updated, while citizens should be properly enlightened on their rights, especially regarding social security. The maternity leave period of women employees could be extended to about six months so as to enable them take care of the newborn before resuming work. An effective life insurance package could be provided to cover various categories of citizens. Professional Counseling Practitioners should function effectively in all settings: industrial, hospital, government agencies, etc for positive interventions in the realization of social security needs of Nigerians.


Anno, T (2008): The Three Pillars of Wisdom? A reader on Globalisation/World Bank Pension Models and Welfare Society”. New York. Nova Science Hauppauge.

Devereux S., and Sabates Wheeler, R. (2007) “Debating Social Protection” IDS Bulletin.

Modighiani, F. (2004): “Rethinking Pension Reform”. Cambridge University Press.

Muralidhar, A.S. (2001): “Innovations in Pension Fund Management” (Great Britain). Standard Calif

Muralidhar A & Serge, A. (2001): Reforming Pension Systems: Dutch University Press. Rozenberg Publishers and Purdue University Press.

Peter M. (2009): “When the Public works: Generating Employment and Social Protection in Ethiopia”. Lambert Academic Publishing. ISBN 978-3-8383-0672-8.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Plain Language Version. United Nations. April 2012, Art 22.


1. The Title: This has been amended to read: ADDRESSING


2. Abstract: The abstract has been re-written in line with the title.

3. Literature Review: This has been addressed by including social

security needs of Nigerians.

4. Methodology: The test-retest was re-administered on the same sample

as identified by the assessor.

5. Results: Tables 1b, 2b and 3b were expunged since no hypothesis was


6. Conclusion: This was addressed and also placed at the appropriate


7. References: These have been written in line with APA referencing.



















































































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