The  Federal Government is scrutinizing the reports that data mining firm, Cambridge Analytica, had access to materials taken from (then opposition candidate) Muhammadu Buhari’s personal e-mail.

The email was hacked into in a bid to influence the 2015 elections for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The firm is presently under probe in Europe and the United States (U.S.) for hacking into more than 50 million Facebook users’ data to sway elections in many countries.

A report which emerged during the ongoing probe states that an Israeli firm gave the materials on President Buhari to Cambridge Analytical.

Cambridge Analytical was hired for two million pounds by former President Goodluck Jonathan to orchestrate a ferocious campaign against Buhari.

According to reports, SCL Elections, a public relations firm, manipulated Nigeria’s 2007 by organising campaigns to weaken the chances of opposition parties.

As part of its engagement, the company organised “anti-election rallies” to demoralise opposition supporters from voting in the elections, which saw the emergence of Umar Yar’Adua as Nigeria’s president.

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.

A Presidency source said the Federal Government had set up an in-house committee to investigate whether Cambridge Analytica’s work in the 2007 and 2015 general elections campaigns broke any Nigerian law or infringed on the rights of other political parties and their candidates.

It was learnt that the outcome of the investigation might lead to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami appointing a special investigator and possibly criminal prosecutions.

A whistleblower, Christopher Wylie who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer, a United Kingdom (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.”

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said he had not been briefed on the issue but insisted that Nigerians deserved answers from the PDP administration, the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica on why they improperly obtained and used data to interfere in Nigerian elections.

He said an investigation, if instituted, should help to determine if there was a linkage between the various killings and maiming that characterised Nigeria’s elections since 2007.

He said it would also help Buhari to achieve his wish to leave a legacy of improved elections.

Also, Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) urged the National Assembly to enact a data protection law.

The experts stated that the law would prevent unauthorised organisations and external forces from accessing private information of Nigerians, adding that it would contribute to national cybersecurity.

CSEAN President Remi Afon, in statement yesterday from the United Kingdom, urged the lawmakers to probe Facebook Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg for his involvement in the scandal and three other organisations.

But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the Federal Government was chasing shadows with the planned probe.

PDP National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan said while it welcomes an open investigation into the Cambridge Analytica saga, it demanded that such inquest be extended to cover the sources of the “looted funds” used to prosecute Buhari’s campaign in 2015.

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