List of Rivers in Nigeria & Their Sources


List of Rivers in Nigeria – Rivers are an important aspect of Nigeria economy. They play major roles in diversifying the already tired major economy of Nigeria, which is petroleum. They serve as the main source of water for irrigation, domestic use, and industrial use. Where main rivers form a confluence, the speed and volume of water produced have enabled the development of Hydroelectric power stations.

This energy serves Nigeria and other neighbouring countries, therefore contributing to the economy.

Beyond energy, certain people of the Nigerian culture share a close affinity to rivers, particularly the ethnic groups of the South-South and the middle belt such as Benue. This is because their areas are surrounded by large water bodies such as lakes, rivers, and even seas. Fishing is a way of life for these people and they bask in this amazing feat of nature’s wonder.

In this post, we talk about the rivers in Nigeria, where they are located and how big they are.

What is a River?

A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water.

How Many Rivers are in Nigeria

There are about 80 rivers across Nigeria, with varying lengths from 4,180km to 26km. The longest river in Nigeria is the River Niger, which covers a distance of 4,180km.

Major Rivers in Nigeria

The two major rivers in Nigeria are the River Niger and the River Benue. River Niger (4179.4664 km (2,597 miles) is the longest river in Nigeria also the longest river in West Africa and the third-longest river in Africa, while the River Benue (1400.13 km (870 miles) is the second-longest river in Nigeria. The Kaduna river, Gongola river, Yobe river and Anambra river are also regarded as major rivers in Nigeria.

List of Rivers in Nigeria

Below is a list of Rivers in Nigeria:

1. River Niger

The Niger River is the longest river passing through Nigeria, and also the longest river in West Africa. It is the third-longest river on the African continent, after the Nile and Congo rivers. It extends through 4179.4664 km (2,597 miles) surging through four other countries. Its main tributary is the Benue River. The source of the Niger is the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea and discharges to the Atlantic Ocean through the Niger delta. The Niger has one of the most unusual routes of any of the major rivers in the world.

2. River Benue

The Benue River, a tributary of the Niger River, is the second-longest river in Nigeria, extending for a length of 1400.13 km (870 miles). It is shared between Nigeria and Cameroon. Its source is Adamawa Plateau in Cameroon and is one of the most navigable rivers in Nigeria.

3. Kaduna River

The Kaduna River is the third-longest river in the country, covering a distance of 342 miles. It is prominent for the number of crocodiles that are found in the river. The river’s name is derived from this fact. The source of river Kaduna is Jos plateau. It is a tributary of River Niger.

4. Gongola River

The Gongola River is found in northeastern Nigeria, where the upper course of the river and its tributaries are seasonal. It is the principal tributary of the Benue River. It is the fourth-longest river in Nigeria, flowing through a distance of 330 miles. The lower reaches of the river are impounded by the Dadin Kowa Dam and the Kiri Dam further below. This has helped control flood peaks downstream.

5. Yobe River

Komadugu Yobe River, also spelled Komadougou Yobé River, a river of western Africa, a tributary of Lake Chad formed by the union of the Hadejia and Komadugu Gana rivers. Situated between Nigeria and Niger, it forms the border between the two countries for some 95 miles (150 km) and flows a total of 200 miles (320 km) to empty into the western end of Lake Chad.

6. Anambra River

The Anambra River flows 210 km (130 mi) into the Niger River and is found in Anambra, Nigeria. It the natural landmark from which Anambra State was created, was named by the white men as Anam Branch of the River Niger. This name later came to be shortened to Anam bra (Anambra), the name it officially bears to date.

7. Sokoto River

Sokoto River, also called Kebbi River, river in northwestern Nigeria, rising just south of Funtua on the northern plateau. It flows northwestward in a wide arc for 200 miles (320 km) to Sokoto town, west of which the Rima River joins it in its lower course to its confluence with the Niger River east of Illo. The Sokoto River serves as an important waterway for the Hausa, Dakarki, and Zabarma peoples.

8. Osun River

The Osun River, named after the goddess, Osun, is a river that flows southwards (267 km) through central Yorubaland in southwestern Nigeria into the Lagos Lagoon and the Atlantic Gulf of Guinea. It is one of the several rivers ascribed in local mythology to have been women who turned into flowing waters after some traumatic event frightened or angered them. The annual traditional worship at the Osun/Osogbo Shrine near the Osun River at Osogbo has become a popular pilgrimage and important tourist attraction, drawing people from all over Nigeria and abroad to the annual festival in August, annually.

9. Imo River

The Imo River is in southeastern Nigeria and flows 241 km into the Atlantic Ocean. In Akwa Ibom State, the river is sometimes called Imoh River, or locally as Inyang Imoh, which translates to River of Wealth.

10. Ogun River

The Ogun River is a waterway in Nigeria that discharges into the Lagos Lagoon. The river rises in Oyo State near Shaki at coordinates 8°41′0″N 3°28′0″E and flows through Ogun State into Lagos State.[1] The river is crossed by the Ikere Gorge Dam in the Iseyin local government area of Oyo State. The reservoir capacity is 690 million cubic meters (560,000-acre-ft).

11. Calabar River

The Calabar River in Cross River State, Nigeria flows from the north past the city of Calabar, joining the larger Cross River about 8 km (5.0 mi) to the south. The river at Calabar forms a natural harbour deep enough for vessels with a draft of 6 metres (20 ft).

The Calabar River was once a major source of slaves brought down from the interior to be shipped west in the Atlantic slave trade. Slaving was suppressed by 1860, but the port of Calabar remained important in the export of palm oil and other products until it was eclipsed by Port Harcourt in the 1920s. With improved roads into the interior, Calabar has regained importance as a port and is growing rapidly.

12. Forçados River

The Forçados River is a channel in the Niger Delta, in southern Nigeria. It flows for approximately 198 km and meets the sea at the Bight of Benin in Delta State. It is an important channel for small ships. The Forçados River splits from the Niger River at the same point as the Nun River.

13. Rima River

The Rima River is a river in the northern part of Nigeria. At its northernmost point, it is joined by the Goulbi de Maradi river. It runs southwest and joins the Sokoto River near Sokoto, then continues south to the Niger River. The upper Rima is a seasonal river and flows only during the rainy season.

14. Nun River

The Nun River is a river in Rivers State, Nigeria. The Nun is formed when the Niger River splits in two, forming the Nun and Forcados rivers. Upon emerging from its parent river, Niger, the Nun River flows for almost 160 km south to the Gulf of Guinea at Akassa.

15. Zamfara River

The Zamfara River is a river in the northern part of Nigeria. Originating in Zamfara State, it runs some 250 km west into Kebbi State where it joins with the Sokoto River some 50 km southwest of Birnin Kebbi.

16. Otamiri River

The Otamiri River is one of the main rivers in Imo State, Nigeria. The river takes its name from Ota Miri, a deity who owns all the waters that are called by his name, and who is often the dominating god of Mbari houses.

17. Hadejia River

The Hadejia River is a river in northern Nigeria and is a tributary of the Yobe River. Among the cities and towns that lie on or near its banks are Hadejia and Nguru.

18. Katsina-Ala River

Katsina-Ala River, river in western Africa that rises northeast of Bamenda, Camer. It flows 200 miles (320 km) northwest, crossing into eastern Nigeria just north of Gayama and passing the town of Katsina-Ala before reaching the Benue River northeast of Abinsi. The river is navigable for 90 miles (145 km) below Katsina-Ala.

19. Orashi River

Orashi River, is a river of the lower Niger River basin, and a tributary of Oguta Lake, southeastern Nigeria. Orashi takes off, 183 m above mean sea level, from the rocks in Ezeama community of Dikenafai, Imo State.

20. Erinle River

The Erinle River is a river in Osun State, Nigeria, a right tributary of the Osun River, which it enters from the north near Ede just below the Ede Dam. Another reservoir, the new Erinle Dam, lies higher up the river. Water from the two dams supplies Osogbo, the state capital.

21. Bonny River

Bonny River, river, an arm of the Niger River delta in Rivers state, southern Nigeria. At its mouth, 25 miles (40 km) south-southeast of Port Harcourt, is Bonny town, a river pilot station and oil terminal. Its location on the river allowed Bonny to serve as an important shipping port until it was eclipsed by Port Harcourt (which also lies along the river) in the early 20th century. Bonny regained its prominence in the late 1950s and early ’60s, when it became a central depot for the shipment of oil.

22. Ogunpa River

The Ogunpa River river system is a third-order stream with a channel length of 21.5 km and a drainage basin covering 73.3 square km draining the densely populated eastern part of Ibadan, Nigeria. The city of Ibadan in southwestern Nigeria is the largest urban centre in Africa south of the Sahara.

23. Ka River

Ka River is a river in the northern part of Nigeria. Originating in Zamfara State, it runs some 250 km west into Kebbi State where it joins with the Sokoto River about 100 km south of Birnin Kebbi, shortly before joining the Niger River.

24. Escravos River

The Escravos River is a river in southern Nigeria. “Escravos” is a Portuguese word meaning “slaves” and the area was one of the main conduits for slave trade between Nigeria and the United States in the 18th century. The Escravos is a distributary of the Niger River, it flows for 57 km (35 mi), ending at the Bight of Benin of the Gulf of Guinea where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Chevron, a major US oil company, has its main Nigerian oil production facility at the mouth of the Escravos River.

25. Njaba River

Njaba River, in the Niger Delta Basin, is a major tributary of Oguta Lake in Nigeria’s southeast Imo State. With a 4.5m mean depth, the river has a total stream length of 78.2 km, a basin area of 145.63 square kilometres and an average specific discharge of about 1700 m3/hour.

26. Wase River

The Wase River is a river in Wase LGA, Plateau State, Nigeria. It is linked with River Benue in Damper of Ibi Local Government, Maize, yams, Mango and other farm Vegetables are grown on its banks.

27. Yewa River

The Yewa River is a transboundary river between the Republic of Benin and Nigeria, running along the Bight of Benin; at one point it crosses the border between the two countries. Other variants of the name are Yeoua, Yewa, Yéoua, and Yéwa. Its elevation is sea level.

28. Donga River

The Donga River is a river in Nigeria and Cameroon. The river rises from the Mambilla Plateau in Eastern Nigeria, forms part of the international border between Nigeria and Cameroon, and flows northwest to eventually merge with the Benue River in Nigeria. The Donga watershed is 20,000 square km in area.

29. Ekulu River

The River Ekulu is a 25-kilometre long river and the largest body of water in the city of Enugu in Enugu State, southeastern Nigeria, and it originates in the same city as well.

30. Jama’are River

The Jama’are River, also known as the Bunga River in its upper reaches, starts in the highlands near Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria and flows northeast through Bauchi State and Yobe State before joining the Hadejia River to form the Yobe River.

You might also like
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x