The Senate yesterday passed into law the State of the Nation Address Bill which gives two-third of the National Assembly the power to summon any sitting president to address the country on his/her activities in government.
The bill titled "A Bill for an Act to Make Provision for the State of the Nation Address by the President and for Other Related Matters Connected Therein 2013" was sponsored by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
The third reading and passage of the bill followed the adoption of the report of the Senator Dahiru Kuta-led Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs which worked on the bill.
The bill, which had on January 22, 2013 passed second reading, was first passed in the sixth Senate but was not signed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Senate President David Mark said he hoped that Jonathan would pass the bill this time because of its importance.
Also yesterday, Mark said some National Assembly members belong to a club and landlords that have been frustrating efforts to bring down rents for houses in the Federal Capital Territory.
Speaking in Abuja yesterday at the public hearing organised by the Senate Joint Committees on FCT and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, on Recovery of Premises Act 1990 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2013, Mark said the deadlock that attained the move to come up with Rent Edict in the National Assembly was part of the grand design to perpetually put Abuja residents under the whims and caprices of landlords.
Represented by Deputy Senate Leader Abdul Ningi, Mark said "over time, many have blamed government to muster the needed political will to enforce the available housing and urban development laws in the country."
He said rents charged by landlords in the FCT are so high beyond the reach of average income earners.