By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Sterling Bank Plc will be sanctioned for releasing a message believed to be offensive to Christians to celebrate Easter, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has promised.
Over the weekend, the lender posted an advertising material for Easter and in the message, it compared Jesus Christ with Agege Bread.
“Like Agege Bread, He Rose! Happy Easter,” the short message to its customers read.
But this generated mixed reactions, with the financial institution mostly coming under fire for the message, which was described as blasphemous.
In a statement signed by its Registrar/Chief Executive, Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, APCON said the ad material was “insensitive and provocative” and was never approved by the team saddled with the responsibility to vet adverts by practitioners.
“The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has observed with displeasure the insensitive and provocative Easter celebration advertisement by Sterling Bank which compared the resurrection of Christ with Agege Bread,” a part of the disclosure said.
“The distasteful advertisement was neither submitted nor approved for exposure by the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP), the statutory panel charged with the responsibility of ensuring that advertisements conform with the prevailing laws of the federation as well as the code of ethics of advertising in Nigeria,” it further stated.
To serve as a deterrence, the organisation promised to wield the big stick on the bank in line with the laws of the land as such an advert could provoke a religious crisis in the country.
“APCON will take necessary actions to ensure that Sterling Bank is sanctioned for the exposure of such offensive advertisement according to law and that no religious belief or faith is ridiculed or any blasphemous advertisement exposed in any guise,” the statement concluded.
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