By Marcus Ikechukwu
For sponsoring an advertorial in the media depicting the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with a local bread popularly called ‘Agege bread’, in Lagos, Sterling bank may have incurred the wrath of most Christian believers in the country.
Elendu Reports has gathered that some Christians who felt embarrassed by the advert are floating a media campaign urging the Christian community to boycott the services of the bank.
This is coming despite a public apology already tendered by the bank’s management.
In a statement released by the Christian body, it wondered why the bank would choose Easter which is the holiest day for all Christians to insult the collective holiness and sacredness of our Christian faith.
It criticised the bank saying, 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 perpetrate religious hatred and insensitivity. Sterling Bank is also stoking the embers of religious intolerance. May we ask if the Muslim MD of the Sterling Bank would have authorized such insult against Islam? The Chief Executive of Sterling Bank; Mr. Abubakar Suleiman with his Management, has clearly 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 totally reject this insult on our Christian faith and call on Christians to immediately take the following actions:
“Immediate withdrawal of all church accounts from Sterling Banks nationwide. The closing of all accounts of churches and all missionary or faith based schools, hospitals, companies and other organizations in all branches of sterling Banks in Nigeria.
“Close your personal account with Sterling Bank, the immediate sack of the Chief Executive of Sterling Bank
“Call for Disciplinary actions by Advertizing Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) against Sterling Bank and the advertising agency that perpetrated this desecration of the Christian faith.
“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”.
On Monday, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria described the advert as offensive and provocative.
APCON also said 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.