Security cameras captured Mr. Ogah’s next steps: Armed only with his bare hands, he confronted the thief, wrested the cleaver away and, after the man fell from his motorbike when trying to escape, held him by the collar until police officers arrived.
Mr. Ogah then disappeared, apparently fearing he would be deported because he had no papers. He had arrived in Italy after reaching Libya and crossing the Mediterranean on a migrant smuggler’s boat in May 2014.
The authorities in Rome tracked him down in an effort to reward his heroism, and, within a month, he was given a residency permit. Mr. Ogah had previously been denied a permit after an earlier bid for asylum failed, according to The Associated Press.
Newsletter Sign Up
Thank you for subscribing.
An error has occurred. Please try again later.
You are already subscribed to this email.
According to the news agency ANSA, Mr. Ogah now has a job with the Italian Red Cross and a place to call home. In preparing for his baptism, the agency reported, Mr. Ogah asked Nunzio Carbone, the Rome police captain who handled his case, to be his godfather.
In an interview soon after the theft, Mr. Ogah told the newspaper La Repubblica that his dream was to be legally resident in Italy and to have a job to support his child back home in Nigeria.
“If Pope Francis or the president of the republic could do something for me I would be the happiest man in the world,” he was quoted as saying. “I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to be legal, work and have a dignified life in Italy.”
On Saturday, Mr. Ogah chose his baptismal name: “Francesco.”