Nigerian Christian Leaders Call for Dismissal of Bank CEO amid Controversial Easter Advert

The controversial Easter advert comparing the resurrection of Christ with the rising of Agege Bread. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Christian leaders in Nigeria are calling for the termination of the Chief Executive Officer of the country’s Sterling Bank after the finance institution aired a controversial Easter advertisement.

In the advertisement, Sterling Bank allegedly compared the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to Agege Bread, a popular type of Nigerian bread known for its soft and stretchy texture.

In a Wednesday, April 20 report, the National Publicity Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says the advert demonstrates “hostility and hatred for the Christian faith”.

“We call for the immediate removal of the Chief Executive of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman with his Management whose actions have clearly shown their hostility and hatred for the Christian faith,” Joseph Bade Daramola has been quoted as saying on behalf of CAN.

The Christian leaders who include members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) describe the advert as “ungodly, wicked, insensitive and deliberately provocative.”


They say, “In case the management of the Sterling Bank is not aware, the resurrection of Jesus witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, then He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not worthy of our faith and worship.”

“Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the mystery that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting and gain the victory over the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54–55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death”, CAN leaders say.

On April 18, Sterling Bank CEO offered an apology to the Christian community in Nigeria. The bank also deleted the controversial advertisement from its social media handles. 

Mr. Suleiman said the advertisement “was insensitive and failed to consider the very sober nature of the event being commemorated, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

He added that while the commercial had no malicious intent, “there is no place for content that fails to fully account for the feelings of billions of people all over the world.”

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“Our honest intent was to join our millions of customers in Nigeria and worldwide in celebrating this solemn event, but our execution fell short on this occasion,” the Sterling Bank CEO said in reference to the controversial advert.

The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has said it will sanction Sterling Bank over the Easter advert.

In the April 20 report, CAN officials say that Mr. Suleiman’s apology “did not come from a penitent heart.”

“How can someone in his right mind describe the risen Christ as a loaf of bread? That is insulting, ridiculous and a mockery of Jesus Christ,” they say and call on Christians in Nigeria “to be wary of the banks and other financial institutions they are patronizing.”

The Christian leaders say they are waiting to see the decision that is taken by the APCON.


“We learnt that the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has reportedly intervened in the matter with a view to impose some sanctions against Sterling Bank. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is waiting for the decision of the organization,” the representatives of Christian leaders in Africa’s most populous nation say.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.