Abstract Cretaceous coals and coal measure sequences in the area around the Obi/Lafia part of the Middle Benue Trough of Nigeria were studied petrographically. The Turonian-Santonian Awgu Formation and the Maastrichtian Lafia Formation constitute the sedimentary successions in both outcrop and borehole profiles of this area. Maceral analyses of 32 coal samples from this area allow subdivision of the coal beds into three different coal facies: the vitrinite-fusinite coal facies, the trimaceritic coal facies and the shaly coal facies. In the vitrinite-fusinite coal facies, vitrinite constitutes, on average 67.3%, liptinite 4.2%, inertinite 17.1% and mineral matter 11.4%. The trimaceritic coal facies has 42.3% vitrinite, 22.4% liptinite, 23.8% inertinite and 11.5% mineral matter. In the shaly coal facies, vitrinite constitutes 29.9%. Liptinite, inertinite and mineral matter are 13.8%, 22.0% and 34.3%, respectively. Correlation of the distribution of microfossils in the interseam sediments with the tissue preservation, gelification, groundwater and vegetation indices of the coal facies indicates that the vitrinite-fusinite coal facies was deposited in wet forest swamp subenvironments along and within lagoons. The trimaceritic facies was deposited in limno-telmatic clastic marsh subenvironments in lower delta plains. The shaly coal facies shows characteristics of various subenvironments but generally tends to be more marine than the other two facies.