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CAN fumes, asks for public apology

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CAN fumes, asks for public apology

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The Christian Association of Nigeria has expressed disgust over the Easter message of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

In the message, the tax body compared the debt of sin paid by Jesus to the payment of tax.

It noted in the message that “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes”ostensibly to galvanise people to pay their taxes.

But the Christian organisation in a statement signed by its National Director, National Issues and Social Welfare, Prophet Commodore Abimbola Ayuba (rtd) described FIRS’s action as insensitive.

The body also expressed deep concern over incessant provocative messages around religious holidays.

Message threatens national unity

CAN in the statement made available to Church Times on Tuesday, April 2 said FIRS Easter Message is offensive and derogatory to the Christian faith.

The body notes, “Such messages threaten the delicate fabric of our national unity and undermine the efforts of countless Nigerians working towards fostering mutual respect among diverse religious groups.

“The Easter period, a time of solemn reflection and sacred observance for Christians, should not be juxtaposed with civic obligations that trivialize or mock core religious beliefs. Religious convictions are at the heart of our identity and deserve the utmost respect. 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.”

While recognising that the intended message may have been to creatively engage taxpayers; CAN Said,  “The execution has regrettably crossed the bounds of cultural and religious decorum. While the FIRS’s intent may not have been to show irreverence, the impact of the message cannot be ignored. It is imperative to remember that the use of religious symbols and narratives should be handled with the highest degree of sensitivity, especially when intersecting with secular matters.”

Make public apology

The Christian body then urged all public and private organizations to exercise caution and consideration for the diverse religious backgrounds of our society. “It is crucial that communications, especially from public institutions, are crafted with a clear understanding of the cultural and religious tapestry that defines our nation.” CAN noted

It called on the management of the FIRS to retract the message and offer a public apology for the distress caused.

“We also urge the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to take cognizance of this incident and to guide the FIRS in adhering to communication strategies that promote respect, unity, and cohesion.” the statement read in part.

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