The Kano state government has explained its silence over the controversy trailing the emergence of 18-year-old Shatu Garko, an Hijabian model and indigene of the state who recently emerged Miss Nigerian 2021 at a keenly contested competition in Lagos.
The government said it was neither aware of her participation nor how the whole event happened.
The teenager made history penultimate Friday night when she became the first-ever hijab-wearing model to win the Miss Nigeria pageant.
The 18-year-old horse rider, said to be the youngest contestant this year, came top beating 18 other contestants to emerge as the 44th Miss Nigeria.
The winner represented North-west zone at the event which held at the Landmark Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos with Nicole Ikot and Kasarachi Okoro emerging the first and second runners-up respectively.
For achieving the feat, Ms Garko clinched a N10 million prize, a year residency at a luxury apartment, a brand new car, and other mouth-watering brand ambassadorship opportunities.
However, Shatu’s emergence has generated some furore from Kano, her home state as well as reactions from some Islamic scholars.
For instance, Hisbah, an Islamic group based in Kano, was reported to have summoned the model and her parents for some ‘questioning.’
However, the group said it was only inviting Shatu and her parents to warn them that what she did was not part of Islam.
In a chat with BBC Pigin, Commander of the Hisbah Board, Sheik Harun Ibn Sina, said the girl’s parents would be invited to let them know that it was un-Islamic for their daughter to partake in any beauty contest.
“We (Hisbah) have confirmed that Shatu Garko is a Muslim from Kano State and her parents are from Garko Local Government Area.
“Kano is a Sharia state and this is why we will not allow the matter to go like that. We will invite the parents to warn them about the actions of their daughter and the fact that what she did was illegal in Islam in case they don’t know so that she will not continue that path and also stop other girls copying her,” Ibn Sina was quoted as saying.
KNSG speaks up
And speaking on the development for the first time, Kano state government said it would seek the opinion of competent Islamic authorities and renowned Islamic scholars on how best to go about it.
The state Commissioner for Information, Comrade Muhammad Garba, made the government’s position known during an interview with our correspondent in Kano.
He said the contestant did not formally inform the state government of her participation in the contest and would not know how the whole thing came about.
Asked whether he would be given a red carpet reception, Muhammad said: “We only read it on social media about the whole saga. I cannot categorically make the stand of the state government known on whether the pageant would be given a red carpet reception or not anytime she indicates her interest to visit Kano as it is being done by other celebrities who brought honour to the people. As a matter of fact, I am not aware of anything about this matter.”
“We are going to refer this issue to competent Islamic authorities and renowned Islamic scholars to hear from them and what Islam says about a saga of this magnitude. It is when this is done that we would be able to come up with our final stand on what may have transpired,” the commissioner added.
More reactions have continued to trail Garko’s victory from both Islamic and social points of view.
Some respondents were of the view that it was wrong for a Muslim woman to display her treasure in the full public glare.
In the view of the scholars, the beauty pageant can’t be seen as a source of pride to the state that is practicing the Sharia legal system, considering the process that led to her emergence as Miss Nigeria 2021.
Speaking along this line, a renowned Kano Islamic scholar, Ustaz Dauda Lokon Makera said there was no justifiable for any concerned Muslim to hail the Shatu’s victory.
He said: “There is no reason to celebrate the victory won by the Kano indigene at the just concluded beauty contest on the premise that Islam is a religion of decorum, morality and credibility,” stressing that “in a contest of such magnitude, a woman aspiring to break the record, she is inescapably prone to exposing her nudity.”
The Muslim cleric further said “the religion of Islam taught its adherents to be pious in whatever they are doing and avoid anything capable of demeaning their image and morality. The Sharia legal system clearly spells out what Islam preaches on the conduct of every responsible Muslim.
“It is highly disgusting for one to hear that a Muslim woman from Kano state had won a keenly contested beauty contest involving prominent society ladies. I regretted reading from the social media and some conventional media outfits that a Kano indigene had won the contest.
“But from the Islamic point of view, it would be wrong for every person to consider the victory a cause for pride and jubilation. It is un-Islamic for a Muslim woman to join any beauty contest.”
Viewing it rather differently, a concerned Kano indigene, Alhaji Shittu Sani Marshal, said the controversy around Garko’s victory was needless.
According to him, it is the prevailing vogue all over the globe that beauty contest is organised as an advantage given to women by modern civilisation.
He said there was no reason for Garko’s rejection, insisting she had brought fame and honour to her home state.
“I wonder how the issue of this beauty contest should be blown out of proportion. It is about modern civilisation and one has to contend with the trend of modern realities. Shatu to me deserves a standing ovation in addition to giving her a heroine’s welcome, any time she indicates her interest to visit Kano being her state of origin,” Marshal said.