The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), has said it will sanction Sterling Bank over its offensive Easter message to Christians.
Sterling Bank had in attempt to identity with Christians at Easter, put out a contentious tweet likening the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the popular Agege bread.
“Like Agege Bread,” the message read, “He Rose.”
The move was a failed attempt to draw a parallel between the resurrection, which Christians celebrate on Easter Day, and the rising of bread when heated.
The message generated outrage among Nigerian Christians, forcing the bank to tender an apology many said was halfhearted.
Expressing displeasure with the message in a statement signed by Olalekan Fadolapo, its Chief Executive, the regulatory body said “The distasteful advertisement was neither submitted nor approved for exposure by the Advertising Standards Panel” before the bank put it out on its social media platforms.
APCON noted that ASP was the “statutory panel charged with the responsibility of ensuring that advertisements conform to the prevailing laws of the federation as well as the code of ethics of advertising in Nigeria.”
The regulator promised to “take necessary actions to ensure that sterling bank is sanctioned for the exposure of such offensive advertisment according to law and that no religious belief or faith is ridiculed or any blasphemous advertisment exposed in any guise.”
The regulators further alleged that the bank “engaged a ‘roadside’ consultant to create the copy that has been found to have breached the advertising law in Nigeria.”
Despite its sweetness, health officials have in the past labeled Agege bread to be unhealthy for consumption because of claims that it contains bromate, which has been widely regarded as harmful to human health.
Potassium bromate is a white crystalline odorless substance, which was used as a food additive until it was discovered to be carcinogenic.
The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria’s regulatory body for drugs, foods, and chemicals, prohibited its use in bread in 2004 due to its toxicity and carcinogenicity in humans.
However, the Easter message which sparked outrage among Nigerians, forced the bank to issue an apology, which failed to appease many Nigerians who believed that the move wasn’t genuine.