River Niger and Streams of Consciousness


I’ve always loved water.

Not bath water or rain, although I have nothing against those.

I mean the natural water bodies, that look so placid one minute and rise up angrily the next. It’s a marvel to watch water spring up from inside a rock, or from underneath the ground.

I live in the Eastern region of Nigeria, which is bounded by the River Niger. The River Niger is one of the largest rivers in Africa, and is a tributary of the Atlantic. You’d think I’d be able to go look at it any time I want. Sadly, my country overlooked natural resources and tourism prospects in favor of crude oil, with disastrous economic results.

That sliver of silver in the middle is so beautiful.

That sliver of silver in the middle is so beautiful.

The kitchen of my aunt’s restaurant is right on the bank of the River Niger. The first time I visited, I spent most of my time sitting on the back steps, so close to the water that I could almost fall in. A dredging company just bought the land so that they’d pump sand out of the river bed and sell it to construction companies.The closest I can get to the River Niger now is driving across the bridge that spans it.

The air around the sea is different, cleaner. I close my eyes and inhale deeply.

The sea and the road...

The river and the road…

Two great rivers, Niger and Benue, meet at a confluence in Lokoja. The warmer Niger and the colder Benue rivers clash, creating visible turbulence. I’ve always wanted to see it. Even now, driving through Lokoja with the aid of Google Maps, I can’t find it. If I had anything to say about it, it would be a beautiful resort with giant billboards, so no one would miss it.

When I fix my eyes on that point where the water and the sky seem to meet, I’m in awe at the wonder of Nature. For a little while, I feel insignificant in the workings of the universe.

In feeling small, I feel free.

5 thoughts on “River Niger and Streams of Consciousness

  1. This is absolutely beautiful. I’m sorry you didn’t see the exact meeting point. It’s visible even from far up. One river (not sure which) is the color of; well, water lol, tinged with grey and the other, tinged with blue. At the fusion, they just seem to blend almost seamlessly, leaving small streaks of their individuality which disappear further down. The resulting water body, I sadly can’t describe.

    This reminds me of the occasional turbulent confluence of the Oba and Oshun rivers in Osun state, and Nworie and Otanmiri rivers in Imo State. In fact, with Nworie and Otammiri, there is a clear separation. You can see how closely the waters flow but still remain separated. Creatures from one don’t often thrive in the other and children are told stories of how if you pour Nworie water in a cup containing Otanmiri water, there’ll be a violent reaction and the Nworie water will “jump out” lol.

    Nature is beautiful.

    1. “Jump out” 😀 Now I’m trying to imagine actually pouring water into a cup, and the water jumping back out.

      I’m intrigued by the Nworie and Otammiri rivers, will have to go check it out.

      Nature is really amazing.

  2. I love this post Toby. I can tell how passionate you are about it and it in turn makes me passionate too. Now I really want to see the confluence too. I’ve gone past Lokoja several times but never wondered how beautiful it could be. Now I know.

    Absolutely love this post! Well done!

    1. Thank you! Something about the water just makes me wax poetic. 🙂 My sister says the confluence is visible, but the turbulence is apparently not that much, and can be easily missed.

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