The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it has forgiven the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, over the controversial and provocative Easter message which was greeted with outrage by Nigerians.
This is coming a few weeks after the religious body demanded the sack of Suleiman and other members of management over the advert which compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ with the rising of Agege bread, describing it as ‘wicked and insensitive’ towards Christians.
This was made known in a statement issued by the General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Daramola, on Saturday, saying that some well-meaning and highly placed Nigerians had been appealing to forgive in the Christian spirit and in consonance with the message of Easter.
What the General Secretary of CAN is saying
Daramola said that the new development followed an acceptable and genuine apology letter written to it by the bank on April 20, 2022, which was personally signed by Suleiman and called on all Christians in the country to join in forgiving the bank and its management.
He said, “As a result of this development, CAN has resolved to forgive Sterling Bank and its Chief Executive. We always remember that ‘to err is human and to forgive is divine.’
“In taking this step, we are following the footsteps of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who asked God to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross unjustly and has taught us to forgive always.
“We hereby call on all Christians in the country to join us in forgiving the Sterling Bank and its management. Those who are considering stopping patronising the bank as a result of the blunder should stop the process but instead continue doing business with the bank.
“We appeal to corporate institutions especially the banks to be more sensitive, considerate, and professional in handling their public messages. Whatever can cause religious crises in the country should be avoided at all costs, both by the government and the business sector.
“We appreciate our youths who heeded our directive and refused to be dragged into the streets to protest against the bank as being touted in some quarters.
“Finally, we acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the well-meaning Nigerians who intervened in the matter.
“May the blessings of peacemakers be their portion in Jesus’ name.’’
What you should know
- Recall that earlier in April, Nairametrics had reported that Sterling Bank deleted amid swelling outrage by mostly Christians and apologised to members of the public for the provocative Easter advert which was heavily criticized by many social media users over the humiliating comparison of the resurrection of Jesus Christ with the rising of Agege bread.
- The bank subsequently uploaded another copy of an opened tomb significant of Christ’s departure from the grave and added the caption, ‘…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.’
- Also, the apex regulatory body in the country’s advertising industry, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) had said that it would sanction Sterling Bank Plc over the Easter advert describing it as offensive and provocative.
- APCON who described the advertisement as distasteful, also said the advert copy was not submitted for approval before it was made public.
- However, CAN in its response described the message as “provocative and insensitive” and called for the “immediate removal” of Suleiman.
- CAN advised Christians to be wary of the banks they patronise, insisting that Suleiman and the Management of the bank showed “hostility and hatred” for the Christian faith.