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NCMF Supports CAN Demand for Sterling Bank MD Removal … call for more sanction

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NCMF Supports CAN Demand for Sterling Bank MD Removal … call for more sanction

A faith based media organisation, Nigerian Christian Media Foundation (NCMF) has added its voice to the much criticized and condemned Easter celebration felicitation advert of Sterling Bank Nigeria PLC., where the resurrection of Jesus Christ was likened to Agege Bread.

According to a statement by NCMF, signed by its President, Gracious Akintayo, who double as president of Christian Press Association of Nigeria (CPAN), NCMF frowned at the bank Easter advert, describing it as an affront on generality of Christian’s fundamental right of worship, and argued that the public apology by the bank lack sincerity, regards and respect to the rights of Nigerian Christians.

“There is more to the motive behind the provocative, insensitive, offensive and vexious advert that is also sacrilegious, malicious and blasphemous. A deliberate and calculated attempt to degrade Christian’s Easter celebration and promote religious unrest among Nigerians”, NCMF stated.

NCMF supporting the stand of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) calling for immediate removal of Sterling Bank MD/CEO, Abubakar Suleiman and sanctioning the bank with others involved in authorisation of the advert for publication, described CAN stand as a good development and right step in the right direction that must be pursued to the logical conclusion by Christians in Nigeria.

CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle

“Christian bodies, organizations, church leaders and well meaning Nigerians should rise in support of CAN against the reckless advert campaign. It should not be allowed to be swept under the carpet with an insincere apology that is not targeted at concerns of Christian population but the bank customers.” 

“Sterling Bank public apology with scriptural quote, “…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” is arrogance and self justification quoted out of context, an afterthought orchestrated to cover up their deliberate damages done to the original purpose and image of Christianity with focus on Easter celebration”, the statement added. 

NCMF lamented that Christians peace loving approach to issues is being taken for granted and beyond expectations. The aftermath of this blasphemy would have caused severe religious uprising and civil unrest propelling mass protest and disruption of the bank operation nationwide for denigrating the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, should it be the other way round.

“The advert, likening the rise of Jesus Christ to a loaf of Agege Bread is a campaign to instigate religious intolerance, undermine the rights and freedom of Christian worship in Nigeria. Thus, Christians should not allow the open blasphemy against their faith and belief be swept under the carpet without serious sanction as demanded by CAN against the bank, its management and everyone involved in the advert publication”.

NCMF bemoaning security challenges, civil unrest and ethnic crisis presently affecting the country stability, said, Sterling Bank has through their calculated action and disguised advert prove that religious tolerance and harmony been enjoyed in some part of the country is not their concern, and most insecurity and religious crisis by criminal elements in Nigeria are being supported, encouraged and promoted in collaboration with some financial institution. If not, how possible these bad elements can be transacting the business of funding their criminal activities in Nigeria without passing through the banks?

Especially at this time when the 2023 election is building up with already tensed atmosphere of threat to security of lives and properties, religious diversity, ethnics division and banditry in the country, Sterling Bank operations should be subject of holistic investigation and monitoring to sponsorship, promotion and supporting of religious crisis in Nigeria.

NCMF advised, “failure of Nigeria Christian community and faith based organisations, irrespective of denomination and affiliation; to take a stand and support Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) demand for removal of the Sterling Bank MD now, it will create future rooms for inappropriate contents with intent to later tender public apology. Also, will undermine the church and Christians with lots of rights to defend the gospel, protect Christians and Christianity in Nigeria, while creating the way for the much touted Islamization agenda”, it stated.