John Ogah, a Nigerian migrant adjudged a hero after foiling a robbery at an Italian shop some years ago, has been baptised by Pope Francis.
In September 2017, Ogah earned the admiration of many after he confronted an armed robber who had stolen some money from a supermarket located in Rome’s Centocelle neighbourhood.
Prior to that, the 31-year-old left Nigeria for Libya, in 2014, while attempting to escape a criminal gang that wanted to recruit him, according to Italian media.
He later found his way to Italy and after his request for asylum was rejected in 2016 but he decided to stay on as an undocumented migrant.
As what had become his normal routine, he was outside the supermarket begging for money when a masked thief armed with a meat cleaver tried to escape with €400 he had stolen from the supermarket’s cashiers.
But Ogah confronted him — with bare hands, and wrestled him down till the police arrived the scene.
“I wouldn’t have cared if he had killed me that day, what he did was not good.” John told the BBC, adding: “The Bible says thou shalt not steal. Yes, thou shalt not steal.”
He later got three jobs offers after the incident and was able secure an Italian residency permit, with the help of the police.
As part of Easter service at the Vatican, he was baptised by the Pope alongside seven others from across the world.
Ogah described the experience to BBC as a “great surprise” to him and the “happiest” in his life.
“To be baptised by the Pope, it means a great future, a great blessing,” he was quoted to have said. “I was nobody before, but now I become somebody.
“I feel so happy right now. The Pope laid his hand on me.…and believed I am somebody.”