Sterling Bank Plc has apologised to its customers and the Christian community over what it describes as an insensitive Easter advertisement.
The bank described the advertisement as “insensitive and failed to consider the very sober nature of the event being commemorated, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
The bank’s apology letter to its customers was signed by the Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar Suleiman.
The letter read in part, “On behalf of the management and staff of Sterling Bank, I write to tender our unreserved apology to you and members of our nation’s Christian community for our Easter message email of April 17, 2022.
“The content of the infographic and the message it contained was insensitive and failed to consider the very sober nature of the event being commemorated, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Earlier, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria said it would sanction Sterling Bank over what it describes as an insensitive and provocative Easter advertisement.
A statement by the apex advertising regulatory body said, the advert, which likened the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the rising of Agege bread, was distasteful and in contravention of the prevailing laws of the federation as well as the canons of advertising in the country.
The statement read in part, “The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria has observed with displeasure the insensitive and provocative Easter celebration advertisement by Sterling Bank Plc which compared the resurrection with Agege bread.
“The distasteful advertisement was neither submitted nor approved for exposure by the Advertising Standards Panel, 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.”
The statement added that appropriate sanctions would be dispensed to the erring organisation to serve as a deterrent against the launch of such distasteful and blasphemous messages.
“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.”
Although Sterling Bank claimed that the message was not an advertisement but an emailed message to only its customers, an APCON official told our correspondent on Monday night that as far the message was meant for the public, the council needed to act on it.
“The message does not necessarily need to go through television, radio, or newspaper; as far it is meant for the public and the content is considered abnormal, the council needs to react,” he needed.