Top 10 Longest Rivers In Nigeria: All You Need To Know

What are the longest rivers in Nigeria? In this post, you will know about the top 10 longest rivers in Nigeria, the name of the river, location, and length.

As we all know, for any state or country to thrive well it needs to have rivers around it, having rivers makes transportation easy, protection, power generation, drinkable water, trades, and even the climatic condition.

Rivers are very essential to life and also a natural source of income for every country in the world and Nigeria as a country won’t be an exemption.

Also, apart from the importance of rivers posted above, most of the rivers in Nigeria serve as a tourist attractions and they generate income for the country and states they are located in.

The rivers are also used as irrigation for farmers and this makes the production of quality food easy and with a higher supply range to the citizens of the country.

You can see for yourself with the importance we have stated above that rivers are very important for the growth of any community, state, or country and they play a large role in economic development.

The two major sources of rivers in Nigeria are the River Niger and River Benue, these two rivers distribute their waters into different parts of Nigeria, and they also serve other West  African countries like Mali, Benin, Guinea, and Niger.

Though Nigeria has other rivers spread across the country and that is the reason why we are going to list the top ten longest rivers in Nigeria.

Before we proceed, we will like you to know the importance of rivers in Nigeria, with this in mind you can easily understand everything about rivers in Nigeria.

Importance Of Rivers In Nigeria

Here are the functions and uses of the longest rivers in Nigeria, also we have listed the general importance of rivers in the list;

  • Tourist attraction
  • Electricity/Power generation
  • Water transportation
  • Increases soil humidity and fertility
  • Habitats for aquatic animals
  • Pure water for drinking
  • Security etc.

Top 10 Longest Rivers In Nigeria

Below is the list and full explanation of the top ten longest rivers in Nigeria;

1. River Niger

One of the most popular rivers, River Niger is located in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria and also covers the Niger Delta areas with a length of up to 2,597 miles it flows through four other African countries.

The longest river in Nigeria is the river Niger, it is also the longest river in West Africa being the most important river in West Africa.

River Niger serves as a transportation route for the countries it passes across, River Niger is the 3rd longest river in Africa behind the River Nile and the Congo River is the first and the second-longest river respectively.

2. River Benue

River Benue is the second-longest river in Nigeria and it is a major competitor for the mighty River Niger being one of the top 10 longest rivers in Nigeria. River Benue’s length covers 870 miles serving Nigeria and Cameroon and also distributes itself deep into the two countries.

River Benue also like other rivers serves as a transportation means and also exhibits other functions a river offers to humanity and other animals.

3. Kaduna River

The Kaduna River is also one of the top longest rivers in Nigeria and it is the third-longest river in Nigeria. Just like River Benue, the Kaduna River is a tributary of the Niger River which covers around 550 kilometers.

The name Kaduna River was gotten from the location of the river and the kind of aquatic animal that is mostly found in it which are the crocodiles.

4. Gongola River

The Gongola River can be found in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria covering approximately 330 miles and is a principal tributary of the River Benue.

The Gongola river is a seasonal river that is always well filled around August and September and is also one of the rivers that serve as a source of electricity based on its speed and pressure.

Being the major source of some dams in Nigeria like the Kiri Dam in Adamawa state and the Dadin Kowa Dam in Gombe State.

5. Cross River

The Cross River is one of the top 10 longest rivers in Nigeria, it is located in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria and also got its name from the state in which it was found which is the Cross River State.

The river source is the Manyu River in Cameroon and its length is around 304 miles cutting across popular cities in Nigeria mainly the Niger Delta region.

6. Yobe River

The Yobe River is also known as the Komadougou Yobe or the Komadougou-Yobe, it covers approximately 200 miles and flows through Lake Chad through Niger and Nigeria.

It is one of the longest rivers in Nigeria with its tributaries from the Hadejia River, the Jama’are River, and the Komadugu Gana River.

7. Sokoto River

Formerly known as the Gublin Kebbi, the Sokoto River is located in the North-Western part of the country and it covers approximately 199 miles.

It is a tributary of River Niger i.e it is one of the rivers/lakes that flows into the River Niger starting from Funtua in Katsina State Nigeria.

The Sokoto river also flows across some well-known cities like Gusau, Birnin Kebbi, and Sokoto.

This river is a very important one for the country as it serves as major economic importance in terms of electricity hosting the Gusau Dam and supplies all the cities mentioned with clean water which is also used for farming.

8. Osun River

The most popular river in Yoruba land is the Osun River, located in the South-Western region of Nigeria and it flows across the majority of the southwestern states and then exits into the Lagos lagoon.

The Osun River covers approximately 166 miles being the longest river in the South-West. It is also the 8th longest river in Nigeria.

According to Yoruba history, the river was said to be a woman who turned into the River Osun after experiencing some traumatic events.

9. Zamfara River

The Zamfara River is a river located in Zamfara State and it is also one of the longest rivers in Nigeria covering about 155 miles.

The Zamfara River runs up to 250 kilometers west into Kebbi State where it meets with the Sokoto River some 50 kilometers southwest of Birnin Kebbi.

10. Anambra River

Anambra River is based in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria and it serves most of the Eastern states. The river is an extract of River Niger and its name was given by some white men that reside close to the river.

The Anambra River covers around 131 miles flowing into some popular cities like Lokoja, the Niger Delta region, and River Niger.

Read Also: Top 10 Largest Lakes in Africa


All the listed rivers serve great importance to the economy of Nigeria and also to the well-being of all living organisms that live and feed around them.

Most communities that are closer to these rivers are into fishing or farming and it is of no doubt that the two professions mentioned sustaining most Nigerians and even the country at large.

Apart from farming and fishing they are as well used for transportation and also the generation of electricity.