The 44th Miss Nigeria, Shatu Garko, has slammed those who criticised her for participating in the beauty pageant because she is a Muslim.

The 18-year-old hijab-wearing queen said though critics may continue to talk, the Miss Nigeria crown was already on her head and there is nothing she can do about it.

The Sharia Police, Hisbah had said her participation was illegal and unknown to Islam.

Garko won the beauty pageant and took home the prize of N10m, one-year residency in a luxury apartment, brand new car, and many brand ambassadorship opportunities.

The Director of the Muslim Rights Concern, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, had also backed the Hisbah Board’s decision to grill the parents of Garko, saying the beauty pageant was not different from television reality show, Big Brother Naija.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC on Friday, Garko said, “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 told BBC Pidgin.

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

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