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Eminent scholars from around the world have written to the president of Sierra Leone to intervene to save the career of Prof. Ibrahim Abdullah of the University of Sierra Leone. His treatment by University authorities could terminate his career or tarnish his hard­-earned academic reputation.

His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma

President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Chancellor and Visitor to the University of Sierra Leone
State House
State Avenue
Freetown, Sierra Leone.

February 3, 2016

Dear President Koroma,

Ref: Concern at the Injustice Against Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah, Professor of History at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone

We wish to express our grave concern at the unjust treatment of Dr. Ibrahim Abdullah by the administration of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. We are deeply shocked that a disagreement over the allocation of courses in his department was used by the University administration as an opportunity to change his employment from a tenured, pensionable position to a one­year contract. Even more troubling is that after his principled refusal to accept this egregious violation of the terms of his employment, his salary was summarily suspended, and he was threatened with dismissal by the Acting Vice Chancellor. The actions of the Vice Chancellor and other university administrators are out of step with the institution’s own laws, and antithetical to best practices elsewhere. The process by which these actions were adopted lacks transparency, and it shows no respect for Dr. Abdullah’s employment rights.

We find it difficult to comprehend why senior administrators at an understaffed institution like the University of Sierra Leone would try to get rid of one of their few highly qualified professors with an international reputation. Dr. Abdullah is a brilliant and well­known historian who has taught in Nigeria, United States and South Africa. His research and publications have made seminal contributions to the understanding of working class and youth development, culture and politics in West Africa. He strives for excellence in his research and teaching. He ensures that his courses introduce students to emerging scholarship in African Studies, provides the necessary readings, and encourages students to develop their academic abilities to the fullest. We believe Dr. Abdullah’s presence at Fourah Bay College contributes positively to the credibility of the institution, nationally and globally. This move by the University administrators to terminate his employment suggests that they do not fully appreciate Dr. Abdullah’s stature as a scholar of international standing or his admirable commitment to fostering academic excellence.

The narrative and documents pertaining to the current case provided by Dr. Abdullah reveal a university environment riddled with serious administrative, staffing, curriculum, and teaching problems. Dr. Abdullah has taught at Fourah Bay College for twelve years, during which time he has been promoted from Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor, and was even asked to be the head of the History and African Studies Department. It would be a travesty of justice to allow the administrators of the University to terminate his career or tarnish his hard­earned academic reputation.

It is our fervent hope that as Chancellor of, and Visitor to, the University, you will not support the unjust treatment of Dr. Abdullah. We call on you to use the authority vested in your office to ensure that the threat of termination of his employment is swiftly lifted, his salary reinstated, and his tenured, pensionable position restored.


Jacques M. F. Depelchin
retired Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana (2013) Salvador­Bahia Brasil
[email protected]

Yusuf Bangura (PhD)
Former Research Coordinator
UN Research Institute for Social Development Geneva, Switzerland
[email protected]

Arthur Abraham, PhD,
Emeritus Professor of History & Eminent Scholar, Virginia State University,
Va. 23806,
[email protected]

Ismail Rashid,
Professor of History, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604 [email][email protected][/email]

G. Ugo Nwokeji,
Director of the Center for African Studies
& Associate Professor of African American Studies, University of California, Berkeley, [email][email protected][/email]

Professor Afua Cooper
James R. Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia [email][email protected][/email]

Professor Toyin Falola
Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities Department of History
University of Texas at Austin
[email protected]

Prof. Osman Sankoh, Dsc
Executive Director
Accra, Ghana [email protected]­

McSam Dixon­Fyle,
Professor of History Depauw University [email][email protected][/email]

Michael Neocosmos (PhD)
Professor and Director UHURU ­
[Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University] Faculty of Humanities, 1 Prince Alfred Road, PO Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa [email][email protected][/email]

Stephen J. Rockel
Professor, Department of History University of Toronto,
Toronto, Canada [email][email protected][/email]

Dickson Eyoh, PhD
Associate Professor of Political Science and African Studies Director, African Studies Program
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada [email][email protected][/email]

Zubairu Wai, PhD
Associate Professor of Political Science Lakehead University,
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada [email][email protected][/email]

Professor Jacqueline Solway
International Development Studies
Trent University
Peterborough, Ontario CANADA K9J 7B8 [email][email protected][/email]

Nemata Blyden
Associate Professor of History and International Affairs Interim Director, Women’s Studies Program
George Washington University
Washington, DC [email][email protected][/email]

Philip S. Zachernuk
Associate Professor
Department of History
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada [email][email protected][/email]

Joseph J. Bangura
Associate Professor of History Director of African Studies Kalamazoo College
1200 Academy Street Kalamazoo, Michigan [email][email protected][/email]

Peter A. Dumbuya
Professor of History
Attorney at Law (Alabama)
Fort Valley State University 1005 State University Drive
Fort Valley, Georgia 31030/USA [email][email protected][/email]

Martin Klein,
Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Toronto Toronto, ON, Canada [email][email protected][/email]

Li Anshan,
Professor of History Peking University, Beijing, China [email][email protected][/email]

Dr. Lansana Gberie,
[email][email protected][/email]

Abdul Raufu Mustapha
Associate Professor of African Politics Queen Elizabeth House
University of Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom [email][email protected][/email]

George Klay Kieh, Jr.
Professor of Political Science, University of West Georgia [email][email protected][/email]

Jibrin Ibrahim
Professor of Political Science Babcock University
Ilishan, Nigeria [email][email protected][/email]

Gibril R. Cole
Associate Professor Department of History Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA 70803 [email][email protected][/email]

Emmanuel O. Akwetey
Executive Director, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) No. 24 Garden Road, Intersection, Okine Street Ambassadorial Enclave, East Legon
Accra, Ghana
[email protected]

Joey Power
History Department Ryerson University Toronto, ON [email][email protected][/email]

Handel Kashope Wright
Professor of Education
Director­ Centre for Culture, Identity and Education University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC
[email protected]

Jennifer J. Yanco
Executive Director,
West African Research Association Boston University African Studies Center Boston, MA. USA
[email protected][email protected]

Dr. David E. Skinner
Professor of History Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA, USA [email][email protected][/email]

Fodei J. Batty, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science Quinnipiac University
Hamden, CT, USA
[email protected]

Tamba E. M’bayo, PhD
Assistant Professor

Department of History
West Virginia University Morgantown, WV [email][email protected][/email]

Professor Thandika Mkandawire,
Professor and Chair, African Development, London School of Economics and Political Science London, UK
[email protected]

Sheikh Umarr Kamarah, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Languages and Literature Virginia State University
Petersburg, VA, USA [email][email protected][/email]

Allen M. Howard,
Professor Emeritus, Department of History,
Rutgers University,
New Brunswick NJ 08901 USA. [email][email protected][/email]

Mohamed Saffa Lamin
Assistant Professor Department of Political Science Cardinal Stritch University Milwaukee, WI 53207 [email][email protected][/email]

Godwin R. Murunga
Senior Research Fellow
Institute for Development Studies University of Nairobi [email][email protected][/email]

Karuti Kanyinga
Associate Research Professor
Institute for Development Studies (IDS) University of Nairobi [email][email protected][/email]

Jimi Adesina, PhD
Professor & South African Research Chair in Social Policy, College of Graduate Studies,
University of South Africa,
City of Tshwane, Republic of South Africa. [email][email protected][/email]

Olufemi Taiwo
Africana Studies and Research Center Cornell University, Ithaca, NY [email][email protected][/email]

Tim Shaw
Emeritus Professor, University of London & Visiting Professor,
University of Massachusetts
Boston, MA. USA [email][email protected][/email]

Reginald Cline­Cole
Senior Lecturer
School of History and Cultures University of Birmingham United Kingdom r.e.a.cline­[email protected]

Michael O. West
Professor, Sociology; Africana Studies; History Binghamton University
Binghamton, NY 13902, USA [email][email protected][/email]

Eurelino T. Coelho
Dean of Research and Post­Graduate Studies Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brasil [email][email protected][/email]

Laura Warren Hill
Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies Bloomfield College Bloomfield, NJ 07003 [email][email protected][/email]

Hon. Ian F. Hancock
Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin Austin, Texas [email][email protected][/email]

George J. Sefa Dei
Professor, Social Justice Education OISE, University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada [email][email protected][/email]

Robert M. Maxon
Professor of History West Virginia University Morgantown, WV USA [email][email protected][/email]

Carolyn A. Brown
Associate Professor
Department of History
Rutgers ­ The State University of New Jersey [email][email protected][/email]

Ebrima Sall
Executive Secretary
Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA) Dakar, Senegal
[email protected]

Professor Ernest Wamba Dia Wamba
Former President,
Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA) [email][email protected][/email]

Paul Chiudza Banda
PhD Candidate,
History Department,
West Virginia University. [email][email protected][/email]

Sylvia Macauley, PhD
Professor & Chair
Department of Africana Studies California State University, Northridge [email][email protected][/email]

Gift Kayira
PhD Student
History Department West Virginia University [email][email protected][/email]

Horace Campbell
Professor of Political Science and African American Studies Syracuse University
[email protected]

David Johnson
Formerly Associate Professor of History The City College
City University of New York [email][email protected][/email]

Mahmood Mamdani
Professor and Executive Director
Makerere Institute of Social Research Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
& Herbert Lehman Professor of Government Columbia University, New York City [email][email protected][/email]

LaRay Denzer
Program of African Studies Northwestern University Evanston, IL 60208 [email][email protected][/email]

William Reno
Professor of Political Science & Director, Program of African Studies Northwestern University
Evanston, IL 60208 [email][email protected][/email]

Lars Rudebeck
Professor of Political Science Centre for Sustainable Development Uppsala University, Sweden [email][email protected][/email]

Alfred Zack­Williams
Professor Emeritus in Sociology University of Central Lancashire, UK [email][email protected][/email]

Abdul Rahman Lamin, Ph.D.
Social and Human Sciences Specialist UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) United Nations Avenue
Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya
[email protected]

Fredline A. O. M’Cormack­Hale
Associate Professor
School of Diplomacy and International Relations Seton Hall University
South Orange, NJ 07079 fredline.m’cormack­[email protected]

Marèma Touré Thiam (PhD)
Chief of Section (SHS)
Human and Social Sciences Multisectorial Regional Office for the Sahel in Dakar
Enceinte Ngor Diarama Daka m.toure­[email protected]

Professor Adebayo Olukoshi,
Director for Africa and West Asia,
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
[email protected]

Ahmad Sikainga
History Department, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, US [email][email protected][/email]

Dr. Kate Meagher
Associate Professor in Development Studies Department of International Development London School of Economics [email][email protected][/email]

Edward Kissi, Ph.D
Associate Professor of History Africana Studies Department University of South Florida Tampa, FL 33620­5550 [email][email protected][/email]

Funmi Olonisakin, Ph.D
Founding Director, African Leadership Center King College London [email][email protected][/email]

Teresa Barnes
Associate Professor
History, and Gender & Women's Studies University of Illinois Urbana­Champaign Urbana, IL
[email protected]

Abdul Tejan­Cole
Executive Director
Open Society Initiative for West Africa B.P. 008 Dakar­Fann, Senegal [email][email protected][/email]