Sterling Bank to be sanctioned by APCON for blasphemous, provocative Easter celebration advertisement

Sterling Bank to be sanctioned by APCON for blasphemous, provocative Easter celebration advertisement

One of Nigeria’s financial institutions, Sterling Bank is currently in the eye of the storm for putting out an insensitive and blasphemous Easter cele

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One of Nigeria’s financial institutions, Sterling Bank is currently in the eye of the storm for putting out an insensitive and blasphemous Easter celebration message.

The bank led by Abubakar Suleiman who is of the Muslim faith has come under intense criticism for comparing Jesus to ‘Agege bread’ in its Easter message.

“Like Agege Bread He Rose. Happy Easter,” the bank wrote with an illustration in an advertorial on Sunday.

‘Agege bread’ one of the most popular Nigerian homemade breads is known for its puffy, soft, stretchy and chewy texture.

It’s a slightly sweet white loaf, usually unsliced, oblong and baked in a tin.

The bread is called Agege bread because it originated from a suburb in Lagos called Agege.

Despite its sweetness, it’s alleged that the bread is not healthy for eating due to some ingredients used in its production.

According to Christian doctrine, Easter marks the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his ascension into heaven.

In essence, the bank was trying to depict that Jesus Christ rose like ‘Agege bread’ known for its puffy nature.

The advertorial/message, however, sparked criticisms on social media, with some Nigerians labeling the bank as being ‘shameless, insensitive, distasteful’, and describing the action as mockery and blasphemous.

Others asked the Nigerian government to punish the lender while some asked Christians to close their accounts and boycott the bank.

Some also called on the Christian associations to take up the matter with the bank which practices Islamic banking.

Following outcries and anger over the offensive message, Sterling Bank, rather than show remorse, further displayed arrogance in a follow-up tweet.

The bank said: “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.

“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. We humbly celebrate His resurrection, the defeat of death and the hope of salvation.”

However, it doesn’t look like the bank will get off slightly as the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, the body responsible for regulating advertising in Nigeria has said it will mete out sanctions to the bank for its blasphemous message.

In a statement signed by the organization’s registrar and Chief executive, Olalekan Fadolopo, he states that the said offensive message was neither submitted nor approved for exposure by the Advertising Standard Panel, ASP, the statutory panel charged with the responsibility of ensuring that advertisements conform with the prevailing laws of Nigeria and the code of ethics of advertising in Nigeria.

See below the press statement from APCON

This won’t be the first time the bank MD, Suleman will be on the eye of the storm for the bank’s indiscretions.

In February, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, grilled him and two other top officials of the bank over the controversial ‘hidden’ N20 billion said to allegedly belong to the Kogi State government.

Similarly, earlier this month, depositors became worried sick about the increased rate of alleged fraudulent activities in Sterling Bank Plc, in the year 2021, as well as its porous internal control.

They are seriously concerned about the safety of their funds with the bank with the nefarious activities being perpetuated in the bank.