The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has issued an apology to Christians following a public outcry over its controversial Easter message.

The FIRS had faced criticism from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for a now-deleted post stating, “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes.” In response to CAN’s condemnation, the FIRS expressed regret for any offense caused and clarified that the message was not intended to denigrate Jesus Christ or the significance of Easter. The agency emphasized its commitment to engaging taxpayers while respecting religious sensitivities.

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On March 31, the FIRS posted a message on social media, which was later deleted, stating, “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes.” The statement prompted backlash from Christians who found it offensive and derogatory to their faith.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemned the message and demanded an apology from the FIRS, describing it as disrespectful to the Christian faith.
In statement on Tuesday night, Dare Adekanmbi, special adviser, media to the FIRS, expressed regret for the unintended consequences of the message. He clarified that the FIRS did not intend to detract from the significance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice.
Adekanmbi explained that the message was meant to encourage taxpayers to fulfill their civic obligations and prioritize tax payment. He acknowledged that while the message may have stirred controversy, it was not the agency’s intention to offend any religious group.
The FIRS emphasized its commitment to impartiality and respect for religious diversity, stating that it does not promote any particular religion. The agency reiterated its role in revenue collection for the progress of the country.
In conclusion, the FIRS apologized to CAN and Christians who felt offended by the message, assuring them of its commitment to fostering positive engagement with taxpayers while respecting religious beliefs.
The FIRS’s apology acknowledges the sensitivity of religious sentiments and seeks to mend relations with the Christian community. The controversy highlights the importance of exercising caution and sensitivity in public messaging, especially regarding religious beliefs, to avoid inadvertently causing offense.