The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) on Monday said it will sanction Sterling Bank over a controversial ad comparing the resurrection of Jesus Christ to Agege Bread.
The bank drew the ire of Nigerians on Sunday in its Easter Sunday message which read, “Like Agege Bread, He Rose!”
Following backlash, the bank pulled down the post, replacing it with another post in which it apologised to its customers.
Quoting the Bible verse, John 8:7, the new post reads, “…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone”.
“Forgive us in the spirit of Easter,” the bank added. “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. We humbly celebrate His resurrection, the defeat of death and the hope of salvation.”
However, the advertising industry regulator announced in a statement issued by its registrar/chief executive Olalekan Fadolapo that Sterling Bank which is overseen by Abubakar Suleiman will be penalised.
“The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has observed with displeasure the insensitive and provocative Easter celebration advertisement by Sterling Bank Plc which compared the resurrection of Christ with Agege Bread,” the statement reads.
“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.
“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.”