‘Jesus Paid Your Debts, Not Your Taxes’, FIRS Apologizes to CAN Over Easter Message

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has apologized to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over its Easter message.

CAN had on Tuesday called out FIRS over an Easter advert that the Christian body deemed offensive.

The FIRS, in an X (formerly Twitter) post, #FIRSNigeria, had shared a picture of a Point of Sale machine with the caption, “Jesus paid your debts, not your taxes.”

The post elicited reactions from Nigerians, particularly Christians, who criticized the post.

In a statement released by FIRS, the agency clarified that the message was not intended to disparage Jesus Christ or undermine the significance of Easter.

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Instead, FIRS explained that the message aimed to creatively engage taxpayers and emphasize the importance of fulfilling civic obligations, including tax payment.

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 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 reminding them of the need to prioritize 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 recognize 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 well-being 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 apologize to CAN and Christians who felt offended at the unintended consequence of our message on Easter Sunday.”