Pope Francis on Saturday, March 31, 2018, baptized a Nigerian beggar, John Ogah who became a hero in Italy for disarming a thief with his bare hands.John Ogah, an illegal Nigerian immigrant in Italy was begging for alms when he saw a thief running off with some cash, and he stopped him.
Ogah was baptized alongside seven other adults during the solemn ceremony of one of the holiest nights in the Catholic liturgical calendar.
According to the Associated Press (AP), after his heroic act on September 26, 2017, Ogah, who was an illegal immigrant, had told the media that all he wanted was for the Pope or the president of the Republic to help him with permanent residency in Italy.
“If Pope Francis or the president of the republic could do something for me I would be the happiest man in the world. I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to be legal, work and have a dignified life in Italy,” he was quoted as saying after stopping a lone armed robber last year.
Italian media reports that Ogah was begging for spare change outside the Carrefour market in Rome’s Centocelle neighborhood when a masked thief, armed with a meat cleaver, tried to take off with 400 euros ($493) he had stolen from the cashiers.
Pope Francis baptises heroic Nigerian beggar in Italyplay
Pope Francis (VATICAN MEDIA/AFP)
Security cameras captured how Ogah confronted the thief and wrestled the cleaver away and held him by the collar until police arrived.
Ogah was said to have taken off when the police arrived the scene for fear of being deported because he was staying in Italy illegally.
His dream came through as Rome police authorities reportedly rewarded his courage by facilitating his Italian residency permit within a month.
He was said to have been denied the permit when his asylum bid failed.
According to ANSA news agency, Ogah now has a job with the Italian Red Cross and a place to call home.
Ahead of his baptism, he reportedly asked the Rome police captain who handled his case to be his godfather.