“We wish to offer our unreserved apologies”: Nigeria’s Revenue Service after Christian Leaders Decry “derogatory” Flier

Logo of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in Nigeria. Credit: Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in Nigeria has apologized to Christians in the West African nation after publishing an Easter flier that was regarded as offensive to followers of Jesus Christ.

Various Nigerian media have quoted the Dare Adekambi, the Special Adviser on Media to the FIRS Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, as regretting the Easter flier message, “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes.”

In a Tuesday, April 2 statement, members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) weighed in on the Easter flier by FIRS, saying the flier message is “offensive and derogatory” to the Christian faith.


In the statement, CAN National Director for National Issues and Social Welfare said that while the flier may have meant to creatively engage taxpayers, “the execution has regrettably crossed the bounds of cultural and religious decorum.”


“The analogy drawn by the FIRS between the pivotal Christian doctrine of redemption and the civic duty of tax payment has been received with distress and indignation by the Christian community,” said Prophet Commodore Abimbola Ayuba (Rtd). 

The official of the forum that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) added, “We call upon the management of the FIRS to retract the message and offer a public apology for the distress caused.”

According to various media reports, the Special Adviser on Media to the FIRS Chairman responded to CAN, explaining, “As a responsible government agency, we would like to say we did not put out the flier purposely to denigrate Jesus Christ or detract from the huge sacrifice He made for humanity. We are acutely aware that the essence of the Easter period is to celebrate this huge sacrifice.”

Mr. Adekambi has been quoted as adding that the Easter flier “was our way of uniquely engaging taxpayers, to remind them of the need to prioritize payment of their taxes as a civic obligation.”

“We wish to offer our unreserved apologies for this misinterpretation,” the FIRS official has reportedly said, adding that the Nigerian revenue service is “a responsible agency” and that it “has no religion and will not bring down any religion or offend the sensibilities of adherents of various faiths in the country.” 

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