The 44th Miss Nigeria, Shatu Garko, on Friday, December 24, reacted to those who criticized her for participating in this year’s edition of the beauty pageant because she is a Muslim.

Miss Nigeria is an annual pageant show which showcases the positive attributes of Nigerian women and awards university scholarships. The winner portrays exemplary qualities and serves as a role model for young women in the country.

Since 1957, Miss Nigeria has always represented the highest of ideals: a combination of beauty, grace and intelligence; artistic and refined.

Apparently, Garko who is an indigene of Kano, recently became the first hijab-wearing contestant to win the coveted crown since the pageant began in 1957. She took home the prize of N10m, one-year residency in a luxury apartment, brand new car, and many brand ambassadorship opportunities and this has continued to spark reactions because of her Muslim background.

Garko spoke in an interview with BBC pidgin on Friday saying, “No one has called me but I’ve gotten so many comments and DMs that ‘I was naked’, ‘I’m doing the wrong thing.”

Honestly, Nigerians like judging people. Many people said the president paid for me to get the crown; others said my state governor paid to get me crowned. Some people said my parents paid for me to get crowned but that’s not true,” she said.

The hijab model, however, disclosed that she remains unperturbed by criticisms, adding that there is nothing she can do about the crown.

“No one has called me but I’ve gotten so many comments and DMs that ‘I was naked’, ‘I’m doing the wrong thing,” she added.

“Some people who are not even Muslims said that I’m spoiling the Miss Nigeria culture. Honestly, I don’t reply to them, I don’t say anything, I just move on. The crown is already on my head so there is nothing I can do.”

The teenager said she hopes to use her crown to “eliminate menstrual poverty and educate young girls on menstrual hygiene”.

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