University of Sierra Leone terminates appointment of Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah




The Case Against

Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah (Associate Professor)

Department of History and African Studies

Fourah Bay College (USL)

Presented to

The Court of the University of Sierra Leone


Wednesday 13th July, 2016

1.0    Background


1.1    Following persistent reports of insubordination, acts of indiscipline, negative attitude to work, lack of participation in the affairs of the Department of History and African Studies, refusal to teach assigned courses and breaches of the employment contract, and Code of Discipline for Senior Members of Staff, made against Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah, I took action to invite him for a discussion.


1.2    During our meeting I appealed to him to cooperate with his colleagues in the Department, and to contribute to achieving the mandates of the University.  My appeal was for a change of attitude on the part of Dr. Abdullah, and maintenance of a conducive working environment in the Department.


1.3    Following our meeting the reports which I received from the Head of Department indicated that Dr. Abdullah was “neither ready nor willing to change his behaviour”.  It was reported that he had breached his employment contract, the Code of Discipline for Senior Members of Staff;


  • refused to teach courses assigned to him by the

Head of Department;

  • failed to attend meetings of the Department;
  • refused to heed the advice of, and admonition

by the Head of Fourah Bay College (the Acting

Deputy Vice-Chancellor);

  • disrespected his colleagues and the principles

of collegiality;

  • refused to accept an offer of appointment as

head of department without any reason;

  • intimidated students;
  • failed to respond to some letters of query;


2.0    Appointment of an Investigating Committee.


2.1            In view of the above adverse reports against Dr. Ibrahim

Abdullah, the University Appointments Committee was

unable to renew his appointment when it came up for

renewal; he had not been recommended by his Head of

Department.  According to the Head of Department

(Dr. S. N. Spencer), “he was not satisfactorily performing

his teaching responsibilities and not cooperating in other

departmental activities”.  The Appointments Committee

was informed that he had been queried by the Head of

Department, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, where

the Department of History and African Studies Is



2.2            To establish an informed basis for decision making the

Appointments Committee constituted an investigating

committee to look into the conduct of Dr. Ibrahim



2.3            During its deliberations the Committee considered reports

made against Dr. Abdullah by the Head of Department of

History and African Studies, the Dean of the Faculty of

Arts, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Fourah Bay

College.  The Committee was informed that Dr. Adbullah:


  • Did not participate in the activities of the


  • Refused to teach courses assigned to him

by the Head of Department;

  • Shouted at students who failed to answer

his questions correctly and called them

‘stupid’; consequently many students voted

with their feet resulting in the shrinking of

his class size.  Students did not choose his

modules because they were afraid of him;

  • He was hostile and rude to visitors who

had called to make enquires at the


  • He behaved rudely to messengers who had

gone to the department to deliver mails;

  • Failed to get along with colleagues because

he disrespected them;

  • Unable to work as a team member;
  • Always saw problems but not solutions;


3.0    Findings of the Committee


3.1            The Committee found that Dr. Abdullah was not ready

to take up any administrative responsibility in the

Department of History and African Studies.


3.2            His attitude towards his colleagues has been unprofessional.


3.3            He turned down an offer of appointment as head of



3.4            He failed to teach courses assigned to him.


3.5            He disrespected the authority of the Head of Department.


3.6            He verbally abused students.


3.7            Due to the shrinking of his class size and refusal to teach

other courses assigned to him he became virtually

underemployed thus receiving remuneration which he

was not earning.


3.8            He breached the Code of Discipline for Senior Members

                of Staff and his employment contract.


4.0            Recommendations


4.1            Renewal of Dr. Abdullah’s appointment should be

withheld for a period of 6 (six) months.


4.2            The Department of History and African Studies should

be reorganized with rapt attention to the following:-


(a)        Recruitment of faculty with “the right

academic caliber and attitude”;

(b)        Curriculum review with stakeholder


(c)        Equipping of the departmental library with

current books, journals and other learning

and teaching resources;

(d)        Re-introduction of the Honours History

undergraduate course.


4.3            The recommendation was acted on and Dr. Abdullah

was offered a one year appointment (not six months as

recommended by the Committee).


5.0    Offer of Appointment

          Based on the recommendations of the committee that              Dr. Abdullah’s renewal should be withheld for a period of 6 (six) months during which time his work should be supervised and monitored closely by the Head of Department and that any infraction on his part should be reported in writing to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Fourah Bay College), the Registrar of the University offered Dr. Abdullah a one-year appointment.


6.0    Dr. Abdullah’s Reaction to the Offer of Appointment


6.1            On receipt of the letter of offer of appointment

Dr. Abdullah wrote an insulting letter to the Registrar,

copied to the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal.


6.2            The Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal invited

Dr. Abdullah to his office and told him that his letter

was at variance with the decorum of the University and

advised him to withdraw it.  He told him that his right

to reject the offer was not in question but that it should

be exercised with respect.


6.3            He was further informed that if he did not withdraw the

letter and accept the offer of a one-year appointment,

his salary would be suspended because there would

be no basis for remuneration in the absence of a contract.


6.4            He informed him further that the relevant section of the

Universities Act would be invoked and that the Court

(the Employing Authority), would be requested to take

appropriate action against him.



7.0            Conclusion

Mr. Deputy Chairman and Members of Court, we are at the cross roads at the University of Sierra Leone.  Errant faculty and staff must be called to account because without discipline the work of the University cannot be done effectively and efficiently.


7.1            The case before you is one of:


Ö  Gross insubordination;

Ö  Disrespect for constituted authority;

Ö  Refusal to teach;

Ö  Intimidation and verbal abuse of students;

Ö  non attendance at meetings and non-participation in the activities of the Department of History and African Studies, Fourah Bay College;


8.0    Action Required by Court

Court is required to take action against

Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah in accordance with Chapter XI Section 30 of the Universities Act 2005.




The Court of the University of Sierra Leone, at its regular meeting on Wednesday 13th July, 2016 terminated the appointment of DR. IBRAHIM ABDULLAH  (Associate Professor).

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