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Nigeria Opposition Party Denies Plot to Rig February Election

  • Peter Clottey

All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters hold a banner with a photograph of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Nigeria, Dec. 10, 2014.

All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters hold a banner with a photograph of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Nigeria, Dec. 10, 2014.

The spokesman for Nigeria’s main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied accusations that it plans to electronically rig the February general election by hacking into the server of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Lai Mohammed said the allegation is aimed at preventing the electoral commission from using the biometric system, which INEC plans to use to reduce voter irregularities during the poll.

The Department of State Services (DSS) accused the APC of plotting to hack into INEC’s voter registration data base.

Local media quoted DSS spokesperson Marilyn Ogar as saying, acting on a tip off, officials from the organization seized a computer hard drive containing a video of 21 hacking tutorials during raids at the APC center in Lagos State.

“The tutorial video focused on how to become a hacker and steps to take to avoid detection in the process of hacking web servers, steps and procedures of system hacking, passwords cracking, decrypting, escalating access privileges, and creating backdoors to servers…The video explains how to hack into the systems of media houses, with the aim of broadcasting fake stories or headlines,” Ogar said.

But APC spokesman Mohammed dismissed the accusations as a ploy to thwart efforts of the party to win next month’s vote.

He said the DSS has changed its previous accusation from the APC attempting to clone cards to plotting to hack into INEC’s data base to rig the election.

“I have never seen a more partisan organization such as the DSS because if you look at the report, it is wishy-washy and so unprofessional,” said Mohammed. “When the DSS raided our offices what they told the whole world was that they were working on the information that we were attempting to clone voters card. Fifteen days later, they cannot come up with one single cloned card to show the world,” he said.

Mohammed said the alleged bias against the APC violates the mandate of the DSS.

“[It] is so partisan that they have become nothing more than the security arm of the PDP [People’s Democratic Party],” said Mohammed. “For any security or intelligence gathering organization of any country to behave the way the DSS is behaving, we are not surprised that this country has problems with Boko Haram… because there is nothing professional about them at all,” he said.

DSS officials deny the organization’s work to investigate the alleged attempt by APC supporters to rig the February vote shows bias against opponents of the administration.

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