These Nigerian Rivers Have the Weirdest Names

September 25, 2022

You know the Niger River — Nigeria is named after it, and it was “discovered” by a random white explorer, not the locals who lived around it for generations. 

These Nigerian Rivers Have the Weirdest Names

What you may not know is Nigeria has dozens of other rivers that have some connection to the Niger River or their own distinctions. Actually, there are 74 rivers in this country — if you’re not counting the one that forms our border with the Benin Republic.

But for World Rivers Day, we focused on the ones with weird names and compiled a list just for you.

Escravos River

These Nigerian Rivers Have the Weirdest Names

The Escravos River is located in southern Nigeria, and the origin of its name is a reminder of a dark time in human history. “Escravos” means “slaves” in Portuguese. The river got that name because it was a hot spot for the slave trade between Nigeria and the United States.

Forcados River

These Nigerian Rivers Have the Weirdest Names

Just like Escravos, Forcados sounds like a Harry Potter spell that strikes the victim with diarrhoea. It’s also the name of a river and a small town in Delta State. It’s hard to tell who’s named after who.

These Nigerian Rivers Have the Weirdest Names

The town once had the longest slave wharf in Africa, built by the Portuguese from whom it got its name.

Nun River

These Nigerian Rivers Have the Weirdest Names

The Nun River is a distant cousin of the Forcados River as they’re both formed at the point where the Niger River splits into two. It’s in Rivers State. Why it’s named Nun is anyone’s guess. 

…or maybe it’s Nun of our business

Gulbin Ka River

Gulbin Ka sounds like the name of an evil warlord with a funny laugh, who removes the scalps of his enemies. 

Don’t let his appearance fool you

But it’s also the name of a river that originates in Zamfara State and runs into the Niger River.

Rima River

Rima sounds like the name of a woman who left her groom at the altar or the fake identity of someone who’s trying to escape the law or both.

“Rima” actually means “White Antelope” in Arabic and is the name of a river in northern Nigeria.

Komadugu Gana River

Komadugu Gana has to be the name of a conqueror like Alexander the Great. But he didn’t make the history books so naming a river in the Chad Basin after himself was his consolation.

Otamiri River

These Nigerian Rivers Have the Weirdest Names

The Otamiri River in Imo State is named after Ota Miri, a local god. He’s believed to own all the water named after him. We wonder who’d win in a water battle between him and Aquaman.

These Nigerian Rivers Have the Weirdest Names

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