Information reaching the PoliticsNGR newsdesk on Thursday reveals that a Nigerian billionaire and supporter of the Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign in the 2015 general elections allegedly paid a sum of 2 million euros to disgraced data firm, Cambridge Analytica to hack the medical records of President Muhammadu Buhari, then the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
According to Sahara reporters, Senior directors of Cambridge Analytica, including its Chief Executive, Mr. Alexander Nix, ordered the firm’s staff to handle material provided by computer hackers in election campaigns in Nigeria and St Kitts and Nevis.
The online news medium reported that “SCL Elections, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, denied using hacked or stolen personal information from such individuals for any purpose in either election.
The sister publications said they were not suggesting that former President Jonathan knew that his billionaire supporter paid Cambridge Analytica £2million to orchestrate a ferocious campaign against his rival, the opposition leader General Buhari, who eventually won the election.
The papers quoted Cambridge Analytica staff working on the campaign in early 2015 as saying they met Israeli cybersecurity contractors in the firm’s offices in Mayfair, London. The staff said they were told the meeting was arranged by Brittany Kaiser, a senior director at the firm.
The papers further reported that the Israeli cybersecurity contractors arrived with a laptop from their office in Tel Aviv and gave Cambridge Analytica staff a USB stick containing what they believed were hacked personal emails.
They equally reported that Mr. Nix, who was suspended on Tuesday, and other senior directors told staff to search for incriminating material that could be used to damage opposition candidates, including President Buhari.
“It made everyone feel really uncomfortable. They wanted people to load it into their email programmes,” a staff of the company was quoted as saying.
Another was reported to have said the employees “freaked out”, as “they wanted to have nothing to do with it.”
The papers said a member of the campaign team revealed to them that the material they believed had been hacked included Buhari’s medical records. “I’m 99% sure of that. Or if they didn’t have his medical records they at least had emails that referred to what was going on,” a member of the campaign team was quoted as saying.
On learning about the London meeting, Cambridge Analytica staff working in Nigeria were gripped by panic. Their local security advisers told the firm’s team to leave the country immediately or risk being attacked if opposition supporters found out their mission.”
An SCL Elections spokesperson said the team working on the campaign in Nigeria remained in the country throughout the original campaigning period and left in accordance with the company’s campaign plan.