The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has forgiven Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Bank, over the bank’s controversial Easter message, where the bank compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ with ‘Agege bread’. In celebration of Easter, Sterling Bank had posted an Easter message on social media platforms which showed the picture of a golden-brown bread divided in two with the caption ‘Like Agege Bread, He Rose!’”.
The bank also sent the message to its customers via email, The message which elicited harsh reactions on social media, especially from Christians was described as “provocative and insensitive” by CAN, as the apex Christian body called for the immediate removal of Suleiman. In a statement signed by Joseph Daramola, National Secretary, CAN, the Association said it had forgiven Suleiman, following an acceptable and genuine apology letter written to it by the bank on April 20, 2022, which was personally signed by the CEO. It was also disclosed in the statement that some well-meaning and highly placed Nigerians have been appealing to CAN to forgive in the Christian spirit and in consonance with the message of Easter.
The statement read: “As a result of this development, CAN has resolved to forgive Sterling Bank and its Chief Executive. We always remember that ‘to err is human and to forgive is divine.’ “In taking this step, we are following the footsteps of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who asked God to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross unjustly and has taught us to forgive always. ‘We also call on Christians in the country to forgive the bank and its management. “Those who are considering to stop patronising the bank as a result of the blunder should stop the process but instead continue doing business with the bank.” The statement further read: “We appeal to corporate institutions, especially the banks to be more sensitive, considerate and professional in handling their public messages. Whatever that can cause religious crises in the country should be avoided at all costs, both by the government and the business sector.
“We appreciate our youths who heeded our directive and refused to be dragged into the streets to protest against the bank as being touted in some quarters. “Finally, we acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the well-meaning Nigerians who intervened in the matter.”