If the grim situation of Nigerian children is not starkly highlighted by the fact that about 10.5 million of them are out of school, perhaps,the fact that in 2020, a Nigerian child was infected with HIV every thirty minutes to bring the total number of children newly infected with HIV in 2020 to about 20,635 children would.
If these statistics tell an incomplete story, perhaps the fact that in 2021 about 278 million Africans were affected by hunger,many of them Nigerian children would tell the complete story.
For many innocent children, the harrowing reality is that they are born into a world increasingly shorn of innocence or sustenance.
One man`s milk of human kindness
In Gwagwalada, on the outskirts of Abuja, one man has changed the reality of a quintet of children and is determined to do more.
When Emmanuel Maliki who hails from Kogi State founded the Incredible Kids, a group of six children, who are fast dancing their way to stardom, the naysayers almost went berserk with their noise.
Having arrived Abuja in 2019, fate brought the children to the pencil cum charchoal artist and dancer who started teaching them how to dance.
Videos of the dancing children were uploaded to the popular photo and video sharing social networking service Instagram for two years with little recognition coming their way until they came to the attention of Michael Collins Ajereh, the founder and CEO of Mavin Records, popularly known as Don Jazzy, who gifted them one million naira and posted their video on his page giving them much needed visibility in the process.
The kids knighted for the top
Of the kids, there is 15-year-old Daniel Azubike from Delta State; there is 15-year-old Joshua Anum from Benue State; there is 11-year-old Emmanuel Daniel from Plateau State; there is 9-year-old Vincent Marcus from Kaduna State; there is 8-year-old Lucky Micah from Kaduna State and there is 5-year-old Emmanuella Micah from Kaduna State.
When he was five, Joshua Anum lost a hand having falling out of tree. Emmanuel Daniel is an orphan while Lucky Micah and Emmanuella Micah lost their father very early in lives.
Yet, one man`s efforts is propelling them to internet stardom.
Reaching for the stars.
Already, in addition to hanging out with some of Nigeria`s most famous artistes, they have also been profiled by the BBC, Reuters as well as a Chinese news agency.
In a world where many children are brought to life through the pains of childbirth, know pain all their short lives and exit the world in pain, it truly warms the heart that one`s man`s love for children and sheer defiance in the face of mammoth odds in proving to be a ladder for them to reach for the stars.
If Save the Children, the international NGO for children, ranked Nigeria 180 out of 186 countries in its End of Childhood Index Ranking 2021 contained in its Global Childhood Report 2021, it was because the experience of children here has been nothing to write home about for so long.
Children continue to be cast adrift as the storms continue to threaten the Nigerian ship hurtling towards a bleak future.
There remains so much work to be done to ensure that Nigerian children can look forward to a future shorn of the darkness blighting the present.
Just as Babtunde Onakoya has done in Lagos by using chess to clean up street kids and give them a better life, Emmanuel Maliki is showing that with a little love and a little lift, the lives of children who remain incredible creatures can be radically transformational.
Long may it continue.