The Arewa Christians and Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA) has described the recent insensitive Easter message publication by Sterling Bank PLC as appalling, disrespectful and provocative to Christians, and also condemned, as mockery the bank’s letter of apology for the vexation Easter message by the bank
The association conveyed its reservation about the widely condemned Easter message by Sterling Bank PLC in its open letter, signed by its chairman, Rev. Luke Shehu, in response to the bank’s alleged blasphemous Easter message and purported mockery letter of apology.
A copy of the letter obtained by Christian Benefits magazine is reproduced below.
Tuesday, 19th April 2022
Chief Executive and Management
OPEN LETTER IN RESPONSE TO YOUR BANK’S BLASPHEMOUS, SACRILEGIOUS EASTER MESSAGE AND YOUR MOCKERY LETTER OF APOLOGY.
The Arewa Christians and Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA) and indeed all Christians found your Easter advert of Sunday 17th April 2022 at best appalling, disrespectful and provocative to Christians. and therefore demands public apology from the managing director of the bank,
We chose restrain, not to respond in view of the spiritual essence and the holy solace we attach to Easter and the memory of the suffering, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let it be on record that the “meekness” of Christians with reference to Matthew 5:5 should not be taken for granted by your bank, any organization or the government as was the case in the past.
We believe your letter of Apology is a public relations stunt; hence it truly depicted mockery of Christianity and Christians. You are aware that the bulk stops at your doorstep and table as Chief Executive and management. Here we are compelled to say that, we saw deliberate gross inadequacy and incompetence on your part as a result of where and how you perceived Christianity and Christians.
Your statement claiming that “…the message had no malicious content…” and that “…message (the advert) should not have have been released to our customers” smacks up hypocrisy and desperate falsehood to assuage the teaming Christians who make up a greater percentage of your clients. The question begging for answer is, do you as chief Executive and other management staff who approved the release of the advert truly accord our Christ Jesus his Honor, Christians and Christianity their respect and rightfully regard our holy period of spiritual relevance?
As a responsible financial organization that you claim to portray you bank to be, you are aware that your statement claiming, “…we immediately withdraw the offensive material and initiated a review of the circumstances…” Also, your statement to “… further sensitize our workforce to ensure this unfortunate lapse in judgment never repeats itself” is an internal process and discipline of your bank we or the public do not need to know.
As such, we the Arewa Christians and Christians in general conclude that you are not remorseful, not truly intended to assuage the Christianity you misrepresented and depicted, the Christians you insulted, provoked and disrespected.
As a Muslim Chief Executive and including your other management, you know what to do to assuage the hurting of emotions and misrepresentation of facts that is misleading, malicious, provocative and inciting.
Your advert is more than words can capture or define. You are aware that the advert cannot be wholesomely retracted.
ACIPA does not need to remind you of what the result would have been across Nigeria and globally should this sacrilegious and abominable advert been done by a Bank at an equivalent Muslim holy period under the watch of a Christian Chief Executive.
ACIPA wishes to remind you that our God, reincarnate in Jesus Christ is a Lamb as well as a Lion. (John 1:29, Genesis 49:9-10 and Revelation 5:5). Therefore, not that we carry the attributes and quality of our God and father.
We are since appealing to the emotions and the sensibilities of our fellow Christian brethren in view of your provocative, malicious and misrepresenting advert.
However, we call on all Churches, Christian organizations, Christians and others who share in our respected common humanity and promotion of peaceful coexistence in respect of others faith, to seize any activities with your Bank fourth with. We call on those intending clientele to exercise restraint and find other alternative unless and until you do the needful.
We cannot tolerate this insensitivity, recklessness and provocation while at the same time grinning under the yoke of other ills against the Christians and Nigeria in general.
To refuse to act now is permitting a repeat of such by other organization against Christians or people of other faith in the future.
It is evident that our tolerance and complacency either as Christians or Muslims have placed us under the scorch we all are in today.
ACIPA and indeed all Christians in Nigeria can no longer accept or condone this reckless insensitivity, disrespect, insult, misrepresentation of the fact of our faith and provocation from a financial institution.
Our “meekness” and “tolerance” have resulted in disrespect, persecution, abuse, attacks and denial of rights by individuals, private sectors and indeed government.
We are aware that to accept this from a financial institution as yours is to permit the persecution and denials experienced by Christians in some States and federal government to be entrenched in Nigeria’s private sector as well.
Sincerely in anticipation
,Rev. Luke Shehu