The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it has forgiven Abubakar Suleiman, chief executive officer (CEO) of Sterling Bank, over the bank’s controversial Easter message.
In celebration of Easter, Sterling Bank had posted an Easter message where the bank compared the resurrection of Jesus Christ with ‘Agege bread’.
The message, which was shared on social media platforms and also sent to its customers via email, showed the picture of a golden-brown bread divided in two with the caption ‘Like Agege Bread, He Rose!’”
The message elicited harsh reactions on social media, especially from Christians.
CAN described the message as “provocative and insensitive” and called for the “immediate removal” of Suleiman.
But in a statement on Saturday signed by Joseph Daramola, its national secretary, the association said it had forgiven the CEO.
It said this followed an acceptable and genuine apology letter written to it by the bank on April 20, 2022 which was personally signed by Suleiman.
“Equally, 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 reads.
“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.”
CAN therefore called on Christians in the country to also forgive the bank and its management.
“Those who are considering stopping patronising the bank as a result of the blunder should stop the process but instead continue doing business with the bank,” the statement reads.
“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.”