John Ogah, a Nigerian man, dubbed Italy’s “migrant hero”, has been baptised by Pope Francis during an Easter service at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Ogah was begging for change outside a supermarket in a Rome neighbourhood where many migrants live last September when he stopped a 37-year-old Italian who had just held up the store with a cleaver and was getting away with about 400 euros, according to the Catholic television station TV2000.
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 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 to 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.”