We’ll never denigrate Jesus Christ—FIRS

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The Management of the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS)  has said that its Easter Message  on the social media  titled Jesus paid your debt ,not your taxes ,was not designed to denigrate  the Christian faith.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had  on Tuesday in Abuja called on FIRS to retract its Easter message and offer a public apology.

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The National Director, National Issues and Social Welfare  of CAN, Abimbola Ayuba, a retired commodore, in a statement, said the FIRS’ Easter message threatened Nigeria’s unity and undermined respect among diverse religious groups.

Responding   in a statement by Special Adviser Media to the FIRS Chairman Dare Adekanmbi said  that “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.”

The statement 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 purposely 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.”

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