Cambridge Analytica sought to influence the Nigerian presidential election in 2015 by using graphically violent imagery to portray a candidate as a supporter of sharia law who would brutally suppress dissenters and negotiate with militant Islamists, a video passed to British MPs reveals.
The Guardian UK has obtained the video, which has graphic scenes of violence from Nigeria’s past.
In testimony to the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee last week, the whistleblower Christopher Wylie told MPs: “[The video was distributed] in Nigeria with the sole intent of intimidating voters. It included content where people were being dismembered, where people were having their throats cut and bled to death in a ditch. They were being burned alive. There was incredibly anti-Islamic, threatening messages portraying Muslims as violent.”
The report said Cambridge Analytica was hired by a Nigerian billionaire to run a campaign in support of Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, and the video was targeted at his Muslim opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, who went on to win the election. There is no suggestion that Jonathan was aware of the campaign.
The anti-Buhari video imagines a future in which he is president and sharia law has been imposed. “Coming to Nigeria on February 15th 2015,” the voiceover says in the manner of a trailer for a Hollywood movie. “Dark. Scary. And very uncertain. Sharia for all.” It poses the question: “What would Nigeria look like if sharia were imposed by Buhari?” It suggests he would strike a deal with the Islamist militant group Boko Haram that would be “a pact with the devil”. The video also suggests “Buhari will punish all who speak against the regime” and that “women will be veiled”. It ends by saying: “You can stop this movie becoming real.”