Skip to content

10 Major Rivers in Nigeria

Nigeria, known as a vibrant nation in West Africa, has so many rich of natural wonders and blessed with waterways which are not only for sustaining life and livelihoods but also in culture, and history. In this comprehensi In this article we will be discussing the 10 major rivers in Nigeria. Read Also: History of Aso rock presidential villa, Abuja

10 Major Rivers in Nigeria

Top 10 Major Rivers in Nigeria

1.River Niger

The River Niger stretches approximately 4,180 kilometers (2,600 miles) in length, making it the longest river in Africa, It originated from the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea and meanders through Mali, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria, before going into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The river Niger is  the third-longest river in Africa, after the Nile and the Congo. The River Niger, one of Africa’s great waterways, river of West Africa and holds immense significance for the countries through which it flows, including Nigeria.

2. River Benue

The River Benue, often referred to as the “Mother of Waters,” is one of Nigeria’s most captivating rivers located in the northeastern part of Nigeria, it sources from the Adamawa Plateau in Cameroon, flowing westward for approximately 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) before joining the Niger River. The River Benue plays a role in Nigeria’s economy which serves as a major transportation route, facilitating the movement of goods and people across the country.

3. Osun River

The Osun River, with its cultural significance and spiritual allure, is one of Nigeria’s notable water bodies. This river is located in the southwestern state of Osun, and flows through the heart of Osogbo, the state capital where it takes its source from Ekiti and it end at the Lekki Lagoon, located in Lagos and Ogun states. The Osun River holds a special place in Yoruba mythology. It is associated with the river goddess Osun, a deity in Yoruba spirituality. The annual Osun-Osogbo Festival, which brings people from far and wide, is a proof to the cultural importance of the river. During this festival, people gather to pay homage to Osun, seeking blessings and participating in colorful processions, dances, and rituals. When in Osun State, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Osun River. 


4. Kaduna River

The Kaduna River originates in the Jos Plateau and flows in a northwesterly direction, passing through the states of Plateau, Nasarawa, and Kaduna. It eventually joins with the Niger River.

The Kaduna River is approximately 550 kilometers (340 miles) long. The river is an essential source of water for irrigation and agriculture in the region, supporting the livelihoods of local communities. It’s also used for transportation, particularly for the movement of goods and people. The Kaduna River is home to the Kainji Dam, one of Nigeria’s major power stations. This dam generates electricity for both industrial and residential use.


5. Ogun River

The Ogun River sources from the Odo Oyo and Odo Otin in Oyo State and flows southwestward, eventually joining with the Lagos Lagoon. The Ogun River derives its name from the Yoruba deity, Ogun, who is associated with iron, warfare, and the wilderness. Ogun River is crossed by the Oyan River Dam which supplies water to Abeokuta and Lagos.


6. Sokoto River

The Sokoto River sources in Funtua, Katsina State, and flows northwest through Sokoto State before joining the Rima River Flowing for approximately 350 kilometers. The Sokoto River serves as an important waterway for the Hausa, Dakarki, and Zabarma peoples and also a lifeline for many farmers in the region, providing water for the irrigation of crops such as rice, millet, and sorghum.


7. Imo River

The Imo River is a small river compared to some of its counterparts in Nigeria, covering a length of approximately 240 kilometers into Atlantic Ocean. It originates from the hilly terrain of the southern part of Abia State and flows southward, eventually emptying into the Gulf of Guinea. 


8. Cross River

Cross River derives its source from Cameroon where it is known as the Manyu River. The river gives Cross River State of Nigeria its name. The Cross River was named after the southeastern Nigerian state which it flows through, and boasts an impressive population of endangered species such as the Cross River gorilla, the forest elephant, and a variety of primates and rare bird species. 


9. Anambra River

This river, often referred to as the “Oma Mbala”, The Anambra River originates in the Jos Plateau and flows southeastward, eventually joining with the Niger River. The river holds cultural importance for the people of Anambra State. It features in local folklore, rituals, and traditional practices, enriching the region’s heritage.


10. Calabar River

The Calabar River is located in Cross River State, South Eastern Nigeria. It flows through Cross River State, joining the larger Cross River about 8 kilometres to the south. 

The river’s history is closely tied to Nigeria’s colonial past. Calabar, the city at its mouth, served as a major trading post during the colonial era. It was a hub for the slave trade and later became an important center for trade in palm oil and other goods.



Which is longest river in Nigeria?

Nigeria’s longest river is the Niger, in the Niger Delta region with a length of 2.6 thousand miles, or some 4.2 thousand kilometers. 


What is the finest river in Nigeria?

River Ethiope is one of the most beautiful waterbodies. in Nigeria. It is also the deepest inland waterway in Africa.


Which river in Nigeria has gold in it?

The Osun State river, One of Nigeria’s two UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites. 



These rivers are not just sources of water; they are the lifeblood of communities, the bearers of tradition and history, and the remarkable of natural beauty. Nigeria’s rivers are pathways to the future. As the nation continues to develop sustainable practices, these rivers are central to economic growth, tourism, and cultural preservation. So if you are planning an adventure to any of these rivers, always remember the extraordinary stories that flow through Nigeria’s waters.

Share this post on social!

Faith Oluwa

Faith is a content and creative writer with a passion for storytelling and a natural flair for compelling content who is bursting with talent and ready to make her mark in the world of writing. She has all the skills necessary to succeed in this competitive field.View Author posts