The role of social workers in re-integrating deported international migrants into the Nigerian society

  • Chinwe R Nwanna University of Lagos
  • Gafar F Olowu University of Lagos
Keywords: deportation, migration, reintegration, social workers


The spate of intra- and international conflicts and economic challenges in most developing countries means that states are enacting more restrictive and insensitive immigration laws to prevent or deport irregular immigrants. As such, the deportation of Nigerians in contemporary times has taken on a new dimension. In the past, deportation was mostly from developed states. However, there has been an increase in mass deportation of Nigerians from South Africa and North African countries like Libya and Morocco, where immigrants are reportedly imprisoned, exploited and/or enslaved prior to their deportation. Review of literature shows that beside the severe debilitating experiences during the course of their migration and forceful return, deportees further face incapacitating economic challenges and impaired social functioning resulting from a feeling of indignity attributable to failed personal and familial expectations. This paper contends that social work rests on the principles that practitioners have an ethical obligation to challenge unjust policies, practices and social conditions that contribute to social exclusion, stigmatisation and subjugation. Utilising ecological theory, the paper analyses situations that inhibit people’s social functioning. Finally it discusses the diverse challenges of irregular emigration and realities faced by deportees as well as potential ways in which social workers through the mandate of social work can play a pivotal role in responding to these issues.

Author Biographies

Chinwe R Nwanna, University of Lagos

Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences

Gafar F Olowu, University of Lagos

Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences