Asaba, town and capital of Delta state, southern Nigeria. It lies on the west bank of the Niger River (opposite Onitsha) and on the road to Benin City. A traditional market centre (cassava, yams, palm oil and kernels, kola nuts) for the Igbo (Ibo) people, it was the place where Richard and John Lander, the British explorers of the Niger, were taken captive by the Igbos in 1830.
It later became a trading post for Sir George Goldie’s National African Company, and from 1886 to 1900 it served as the administrative headquarters of the territory governed by the Royal Niger Company. The town has been an entrepôt for palm produce and other agricultural exports carried by the Asaba-Onitsha ferry.
The town is now the terminus of the 4,606-foot (1,404-metre) bridge to Onitsha (completed in 1965), which serves as eastern Nigeria’s only direct road link across the Niger River to Benin City and Lagos. Asaba has a textile factory and is the site of a teacher-training college and other schools. Lignite deposits have been discovered in the vicinity. Pop. (2008 est.) 350,128.