The Federal Government has commenced investigation into the recent revelation that ahead of the 2015 general elections, a Nigerian billionaire and supporter of former President Goodluck Jonathan paid £2m to Cambridge Analytica to hack into the medical records of President Muhammadu Buhari, then candidate of the All Progressives Congress.
The government is also probing the report that suggested that the consulting firm that combines data mining, brokerage and analysis with strategic communication for electoral process manipulated Nigeria’s 2007 elections by organising campaigns to weaken the chances of opposition parties.
A Presidency official who spoke on the condition of anonymity disclosed this to State House correspondents in Abuja on Sunday.
“The government of Nigeria is scrutinising the reports of the data mining firm Cambridge Analytica, which swiped the data of more than 50 million Facebook users to sway elections in many countries including Nigeria, where it waged a campaign to perpetuate discord and hack into personal records of the then leading opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari,” the source said.
He said the government had set up what he called an in-house committee to investigate whether the firm’s work for the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in 2007 and 2015 general election campaigns broke the laws of the country or infringed on the rights of other parties and their candidates.
“Depending on the outcome, this may lead to the appointment of a special investigator and possibly, criminal prosecutions by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN),” the Presidency official added.
When contacted on the matter, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he had not been briefed on the issue.
Shehu however said it was the right of Nigerians for the PDP, Facebook and Cambridge Analytical to explain their roles in the matter.