Shatu Garko, an 18-year-old hijabi has become the first Muslim to win the Miss Nigeria pageant since its inception in 1957.
Garko, who hails from Kano State, was crowned the 44th Miss Nigeria after beating 17 other finalists at an event on Friday, December 17, 2022, in Lagos. She was also the youngest contestant this year, winning N10m, a one-year residency at a luxury apartment, a brand new car and brand ambassadorship opportunities.
Speaking shortly before being crowned Miss Nigeria Garko said, “Winning this competition means a lot to me. I have always wanted to be a Miss Nigeria. I’d like to thank Miss Nigeria and its sponsors. I would also like to thank my mum for supporting and loving me.
Garko had earlier stated that she loves riding horses and is passionate about proving that religion and culture are not barriers to following one’s dreams.
Nicole Ikot was the first runner-up, while Kasarachi Okoro emerged the second runner-up. The winner of the 2020 edition of the pageant, Etsanyi Tukura, was present to hand over the crown to her successor at the ceremony.
According to the organisers, thousands of applications were submitted before it was pruned down to the top 37 and an additional three wildcard semi-finalists. Members of the public were also given a chance to contribute to the process of choosing the 21 finalists who made it into the Miss Nigeria Bootcamp, which was further cut down to the top 18 finalists.