The U.S.-based women group, who presented the “Woman of Valour” award to Mrs Buhari during the 18th Annual Awards Banquet at Atlanta, applauded her efforts at protecting the poor and vulnerable in the society.
Founded in 2000, NWAG is a group of accomplished Nigerian women, residing in the State of Georgia that combines efforts to impact on the lives of Nigerians at the home and in the diaspora.
President of the association, Dr Stella Etta, said Buhari “has used her position as the First Lady to bring global attention to and campaign for laws that protect women, girls and children’’.
“This is especially on issues of forced marriages, sexual abuse of children and human trafficking.
“She takes time out to visit the poor and the oppressed such as meeting with mothers of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls and the six-month-old victim of the violation, Khadijah Bashir, in Kano State,’’ Etta said.
The association also noted Mrs Buhari’s advocacy for equal rights, respect and access to education for women and girls, adding that she advocates against child marriage before the age of 17.
“These noble and humanitarian causes won her local and international acclaims, as well as from housewives who have been shut out of opportunities because of lack of access to education.
“She ensured that women issues were represented in her husband’s election platform, promising that his administration would give top priority to women’s health and education and equal opportunities to contribute towards nation building.’’
In her acceptance speech, Mrs Buhari in a recorded video message to the event said the recognition would spur her to do more for the less-privileged.
She commended NWAG for promoting Nigeria’s image internationally.
“The award, will spur me to do more.
“I, therefore, call on others to work harder on the negative health and the economic outlaws of women.
“Thank you all for projecting the good image of Nigeria in various areas of endeavour.
“I dedicate this award to the women and children of Nigeria,’’ Mrs Buhari said.
Other award recipients included an African-American, Dr Gloria Herndon; a gender advocate, Dr Elisha Attai; and a philanthropist, Dr Mohammed Ladan.
Herndon, the first female black official at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, who also taught Economics at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, was presented with ‘Friend of Nigeria’ award.
Attai, President of African Women in Leadership Conference, won the ‘Vanguard Award’ while Ladan, a philanthropist who promotes education among indigent students in Northern Nigeria, won the ‘Unsung Hero’ award.
Mrs Florence Okafor, a dedicated member of the association also emerged the 2018 Member of the Year Award.
Consul-General of Nigeria in Atlanta, Mr Kayode Laro, commended the organisation for living up to its vision and mission.
He remarked that the activities of the association since its establishment “are highly commendable’’.
Laro lauded the group’s contributions to Nigeria, particularly, in the areas of support to orphanages, scholarship scheme, annual medical missions and shipment of medical supplies to hospitals in Nigeria.
He also commended the association for promoting Nigerian culture in Metro Atlanta Schools and its milestone million-dollar project – Nigeria Centre for Arts, Culture and Empowerment in Georgia.
“Our culture is part of what defines us as Nigerians and the more our American friends know about it the better they will know and understand us.
“NWAG’s collaboration with other non-profit organisations involved in charity work for the benefit of the needy is highly commendable,’’ Laro said in his speech read by Mr Innocent Iwejuo, Consul, Information and Economics.
The event was attended by officials from the Nigerian Missions in New York, Atlanta and non-profit organisations from across the U.S.