• APCON to sanction Sterling Bank over provocative Easter Advert
• CAN demands sack of Sterling Bank’s CEO
Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), the apex regulatory body in the advertisement industry has said that it will take necessary action to ensure that Sterling Bank is sanctioned for the exposure of an offensive Easter advertisement. The Easter celebration advertisement had compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ with the rising of Agege Bread. The copy displayed a freshly baked golden brown bread, halved Agege bread with an inscription, “Like Agege Bread, He rose… Happy Easter.”
According to a statement signed by Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, APCON Registrar and Chief Executive on Monday, APCON 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.” The statement titled “Sterling Bank “Agege Bread” Easter Advertisement” further outlined the regulatory body’s resolve, “APCON will take necessary action 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”. In another vein, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has demanded for the sack of the Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, over the controversial Easter advert. CAN in a statement signed on Wednesday by its National Secretary, Joseph Daramola, described the advert as “wicked and insensitive” towards Christians.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria has been drawn to an ungodly, wicked, insensitive and deliberately provocative advertisement of Sterling Bank, comparing the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ to ‘Agege bread’ amidst the Easter celebration. “In case the management of Sterling Bank is not aware, the Resurrection of Jesus witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the Resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, then He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not worthy of our faith and worship. “Only He who created life can resurrect it after death; only He can reverse the mystery that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting and gain the victory over the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54–55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death.