Rotaviruses (RV) are associated with ∼33 000 deaths in children <5 years of age annually in Nigeria. However, limited data exit on RV infection in north-western Nigeria. During July 2002 to July 2004, 1063 (869 diarrhoeic and 194 control) stool samples were collected from children <5 years of age presenting with diarrhoea in north-western Nigeria. The stools were analysed for RV antigen and further characterized by antigenic and genomic methods. RV was detected in 18% of children with diarrhoea and 7.2% of the age-matched case controls. The highest RV burden was detected in children <6-months-old. Long electropherotypes and VP6 subgroup I + II specificity predominated.