The growing restrictions on free speech, association and assembly rights, including the tide of restrictive legislation, have engendered a climate of fear in Nigeria, shrinking the spaces for civic engagement. Despite this persistent and growing official intimidation, a web of actors, comprising active citizens, informal and organised groups from civil society are trudging on under great difficulties, deploying a variety of strategies to reclaim civic space and demanding greater respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Have these local responses and initiatives been effective? What strategies have worked for local activists and organisations. This article discusses the ways local responses can inform future strategies by human rights activists and other actors operating in the regional and international spheres.