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FIRS Apologises To CAN, Christians Over Easter Message 

NIGERIA: The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has apologised to Christians over its Easter message which has stirred controversy among adherents of the faith.

In its Easter message to Christians in Nigeria, the FIRS had shared a flier showing a Point of Sale (PoS) machine with the caption, “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes.”

The message triggered an outpour of condemnation with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leading the way and asking for an apology, reports Channels TV.

While the post was later deleted, FIRS has now apologised for the move.

“We wish to offer our unreserved apologies for this misinterpretation,” the agency said in a late statement by the Special Adviser (Media) to the FIRS Chairman yesterday.

FIRS ‘Has No Religion’

But the agency said it “did not put out the flier purposively to denigrate Jesus Christ or detract from the huge sacrifice He made for humanity.”

“The unintended meaning/insinuation being read into the post was not what we were out to communicate as an agency,” the statement read.

“FIRS, as a responsible agency, has no religion and will not bring down any religion or offend the sensibilities of adherents of various faiths in the country. Our goal is to assess, collect, and account for revenue for the wellbeing of the Federation,” FIRS said.

“We believe it is an investment in the progress of the country when citizens pay their taxes. Once again, we wish to apologise to CAN and Christians who felt offended at the unintended consequence of our message on Easter Sunday.”

READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW

We Will Never Denigrate Jesus Christ — FIRS

Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) about a flier posted on our social media platforms with the headline “Jesus paid your debts, not your taxes.” As a responsible agency of government, we would like to say we did not put out the flier purposively 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.

The message was our way of uniquely engaging taxpayers and to remind them of the need to prioritise payment of their taxes as a civic obligation. Yes, we would say the message ruffled feathers in some circles. The unintended meaning/insinuation being read into the post was not what we were out to communicate as an agency. Good a thing, this much is acknowledged by CAN in its statement wherein it said “We recognise that the intended message may have been to creatively engage taxpayers…” We wish to offer our unreserved apologies for this misinterpretation.

FIRS, as a responsible agency, has no religion and will not bring down any religion or offend the sensibilities of adherents of various faiths in the country. Our goal is to assess, collect and account for revenue for the wellbeing of the Federation. We believe it is an investment in the progress of the country when citizens pay their taxes. Once again, we wish to apologise to CAN and Christians who felt offended at the unintended consequence of our message on Easter Sunday.

Signed

Dare Adekanmbi

Special Adviser (Media) to the FIRS Chairman

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