Nigeria government has set up an in-house committee to investigate the activities of the data mining firm, Cambridge Analytica, during the Nigeria’s general elections in 2007 and 2015.
The committee is to find out whether Cambridge Analytica’s work for the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in 2007 and 2015 elections campaigns broke the laws of Nigeria or infringed on the rights of other parties and their candidates.
The Cambridge Analytica was alleged to have 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.
A presidency source, who confirmed this development to State House correspondents in Abuja on Sunday, added that depending on the outcome (of the committee report), this may lead to the appointment of a special investigator and possibly, criminal prosecutions by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
A whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer, a UK newspaper that : “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles and built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons.
That was the basis the entire company was built on.” Among those whose personal data was hacked into in 2015 was the then opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
Cambridge Analytica, according to the reports, worked with Israeli hackers who were instructed to get dirt on Muhammadu Buhari during the presidential campaign.
According to those reports, SCL Elections, a public relations firm that later became Cambridge Analytica, manipulated Nigeria’s 2007 by organising campaigns to weaken the chances of opposition parties.
“The Cambridge Analytica team came up with a video to portray candidate Buhari as a leader who would enforce Sharia Law in Nigeria. It was intended to sway the minds of millions of Nigerians and vote for the PDP candidate.
”Currently, the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook are the focus of an inquiry into data and politics by the British Information Commissioner’s Office, the United States Special Counsel Robert Mueller .
“It will also help President Buhari achieve his wish to leave a legacy of improved elections,’’ he added. Cambridge Analytica interfered in Nigeria’s infamous 2007 election Cambridge Analytica interfered in Nigeria’s infamous 2007 election March 25, 2018 Zuckerberg may face House of Commons again as Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO