- The Sultan of Sokoto and the Archbishop of Nigeria's Anglican Church, two of the country's most influential religious leaders, are to co-chair Nigeria's Relief Committee on Tsunami Disaster. The relief committee was established by the federal government of Nigeria and is to aid the tsunami victims in Asia and north-east Africa, in particular in Somalia.
Already, the Nigerian government has responded to the monumental catastrophe which caused the untimely death of over 200,000 people by contributing the sum of one million dollars to the UN's Relief Fund for the Tsunami victims. This is one of the largest amounts donated by an African government to the tsunami relief work.
The nationwide, inter-religious care for the numerous victims of the largest disaster in modern times is further illustrated by the appointment of leaders to the relief committee. The committee is to be co-chaired by Sokoto Sultan Alhadji Muhammad Maccido and (Anglican) Church of Nigeria Archbishop Peter Akinola. The two men are heading Nigeria's two leading religious societies.
The leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria - which also is headed by Archbishop Akinola - has sent out an appeal to all Christians in the country and beyond to "donate generously to the victims of the unfortunate incident." Special Nigerian bank accounts had been established by the relief committee.
Nigeria's Anglican Archbishop has earlier been criticised by his Southern African colleague, Cape Town Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, for not taking the many special problems of Africa seriously enough. He especially referred to the AIDS pandemic and the high prevalence of poverty, saying Archbishop Akinola was too occupied with conservative interpretations of the Bible to see the real problems faced in Africa.
Archbishop Ndungane, on the other hand, recently visited Somalia, the African country most affected by the 26 December tsunami. After returning to Cape Town, the Anglican Archbishop criticised international media and the African Union (AU) for doing too little to assist Somalia after the devastating tsunami.
Various Anglican churches of South Africa had donated a total of rand 450,000 during a campaign headed by Archbishop Ndungane. These funds were distributed by the charismatic Cape Town archbishop personally during his stay in Somalia.
According to the transitional Somali government, an estimated 300 persons died as a consequence of the tsunami in the country. The disaster resulted in damages of an estimated US$ 23 million to private property and infrastructure. An estimated 10,000 costal residents of Somalia were said to have lost their homes.
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