By Kingsley Madaki
Christians in Nigeria have been called to boycott all Sterling Banks nationwide for “insulting Jesus Christ and His resurrection” during the Easter celebration through an advertisement that compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ with Agege bread.
In a statement to journalists from the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Christians were advised to immediately withdraw all church accounts and close all personal accounts with Sterling Bank nationwide.
The statement stressed that they should close all accounts of churches and all missionary or faith-based schools, hospitals, companies, and other organizations in all branches of sterling Banks in Nigeria.
The statement also called for the immediate sack of the Chief Executive of Sterling Bank and called for disciplinary actions by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) against Sterling Bank and the advertising agency that perpetrated this desecration of the Christian faith.
The statement reads, “Easter is the holiest day for all Christians yet that was the day Sterling Bank chose to insult the collective holiness and sacredness of our Christian faith. While the world celebrated Easter with words of faith, courage, love, and forgiveness, Sterling Bank chose to compare the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ with Agege bread.
“This is a deliberate ploy to perpetuate religious hatred and insensitivity. Sterling Bank is also stoking the embers of religious intolerance. May we ask if the Muslim Management Director of the Sterling Bank would have authorized such insult against Islam?
“The Chief Executive of Sterling Bank; Mr. Abubakar Suleiman with his Management, has demonstrated his hatred for the Christian faith and his disgust for Christians at large. At the time we are preaching for unity and ecumenism, the likes of Mr. Suleiman and his cohorts are busy fanning the embers of hatred and religious intolerance. We reject this insult to our Christian faith and call on Christians to immediately take the following actions.
“We call on all Christians and the churches to immediately enforce these measures. Apology after a deliberate act is not contrition. Sterling Bank must pay for this sacrilege.”
However, on Monday, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) described the advert as offensive and provocative, saying that the advert copy was not submitted for approval before it was made public.
In a statement signed by its Registrar and Chief Executive, Olalekan Fadolapo, APCON said the advert was distasteful, noting that Sterling Bank Plc would be punished for the action.
The bank, in the now-deleted social media post over the weekend, had attracted criticisms as the same copy was sent to the email of the bank’s customers.