Nigerian former President Goodluck Jonathan “wasn’t aware” of any use of Cambridge Analytica in his 2015 bid for re-election, says his spokesperson.
The Nigerian government is probing claims that Cambridge Analytica, a British-based political consultancy, illegally used Facebook data in past election campaigns.
In a press statement released Sunday, the Nigerian government said it was probing whether the firm broke the law to wage “a campaign to perpetuate discord and hack into personal records of the then leading opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari.”
The campaign also included “anti-election rallies” and a gory video depicting Buhari as an Islamic fundamentalist on a quest to enforce Sharia law in Nigeria, said the statement.
“He wasn’t aware of it,” says spokesperson Ikechukwu Eze, referring to former president Jonathan.
When asked about the probe, Eze replied: “The best thing to do is to wait for the conclusion of the investigation.”
“There is a significant and great urgency attached to the work. As a matter of fact, as I speak to you, I am aware they are putting together that report,” says Buhari’s spokesperson Garba Shehu.
“The idea is are there things we can do to ensure that this doesn’t happen again in the country, so that we safeguard future elections from this kind of foreign interference.”
Jonathan was elected president in 2010, losing to the present incumbent, Buhari, in 2015.
Regulators in Britain and the United States are investigating claims that Cambridge Analytica unlawfully used Facebook data for political ends in a mushrooming privacy scandal that has cast the spotlight on data protection.
The firm has been tied to electoral campaigns around the world, including for US President Donald Trump and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.