By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for the “immediate removal” the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, over the bank’s controversial Easter message.
To commemorate the Easter celebration, Sterling Bank had posted an Easter message wherein the bank compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ with Agege bread.
The message, which was shared on the bank’s social media platforms and also sent to its customers via email, showed a picture of a golden-brown bread divided into two with the caption, “Like Agege Bread, He Rose!”
The advert elicited harsh reactions on social media, especially from Christians.
Responding to the backlash, Sterling Bank pulled down the post from its Twitter page, and replaced it with another post in which it apologised to its customers.An apology email was also sent to customers.
Reacting to the advert, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) said it will sanction Sterling Bank over the controversial Easter message.
However, CAN, in a statement signed by its national secretary, Joseph Daramola, described the advert as “provocative and insensitive.”
He asked Christians not to take the law into their hands.
“The attention of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has been drawn to an ungodly, wicked, insensitive and deliberately provocative advertisement of the Sterling Bank comparing the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ to ‘Agege Bread’ amidst the Easter celebration.
“In case the management of the Sterling Bank is not aware, the resurrection of Jesus witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God.
“If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, then He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not worthy of our faith and worship.
“Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the mystery that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting and gain the victory over the grave (1Corinthians 15:54–55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death.
“The purported apology did not come from a penitent heart. How can someone in his right mind describe the risen Christ as a loaf of bread? That is insulting, ridiculous and a mockery of Jesus Christ,” the statement read.
CAN advised Christians to be wary of the banks and other financial institutions they are patronising.
“We learnt that the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has reportedly intervened in the matter with a view to imposing some sanctions against Sterling Bank. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is waiting for the decision of the organisation.
“However, in the interim, we call for the immediate removal of the chief executive of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, with his management whose actions have clearly shown their hostility and hatred for the Christian faith,” it added.