Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi

 

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has extended an apology to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) following a public outcry over its Easter message. The apology comes after CAN expressed dissatisfaction with an Easter advertisement shared by FIRS, which it deemed offensive.

The controversy stemmed from an X (formerly Twitter) post by FIRS with the hashtag #FIRSNigeria. The post featured an image of a Point of Sale machine accompanied by the caption, “Jesus paid your debts, not your taxes.” This message sparked widespread criticism, particularly from the Christian community, who interpreted it as a denigration of Jesus Christ and a dismissal of the significance of Easter.

In response to the backlash, FIRS released a statement clarifying its intentions behind the controversial message. The agency emphasized that the post was not meant to disparage Jesus Christ or diminish the importance of Easter. Instead, FIRS explained that the message was intended to creatively engage taxpayers and underscore the civic duty of tax payment.

The statement from FIRS reads, “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.”

Acknowledging the misinterpretation of the message, FIRS expressed regret for any offense caused and extended its apologies to CAN and the Christian community. The agency reiterated its commitment to impartiality and stated that it does not discriminate based on religion.

FIRS emphasized its mandate to assess, collect, and account for revenue for the betterment of the nation, emphasizing that tax compliance is essential for the progress of the country. The agency affirmed its dedication to engaging with taxpayers in a respectful and inclusive manner, without infringing upon religious sensitivities.

In conclusion, FIRS reiterated its apology to CAN and all Christians who felt offended by the unintended consequences of its Easter message. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of sensitivity and careful communication, especially when addressing matters of faith and belief.

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